The spirit of cricket


              When the Indian Captain withdrew his appeal, allowing Ian Bell to return to the crease to bat some more, he did a fine thing. In this world of lawyers, rules, and fighting over every detail and advantage, it was a magnanimous and popular gesture.

               Ian Bell was out. He had been given out by the Umpire. He only had himself to blame, as he had not checked whether  the ball was out of play and  the over concluded.  The law said his innings was over.

                 Watching the replays it was also clear Ian Bell had grounded his bat in the crease, completing his run. He had then started to walk off for tea. The two England batsmen were not attempting a further run. In the spirit of the game Ian Bell was not run out, because he was not trying to complete a run.

                   Given the state of the game and the brilliance of Bell’s batting, it was the triumph of the spirit of cricket. It subsequently turned out that England won easily. No-one can say India threw it away with this gesture. At the time no-one knew how well England would bowl, and there was still everything to play for. It was a genuine sacrifice made by India which can make us all feel better about human nature.


  1. James Jones
    August 2, 2011

    Nothing to do with the fact that India were booed off as they left the field

    1. Robert Taggart
      August 2, 2011

      Or were they ‘boozed’ off the field ? !

  2. Brian Tomkinson
    August 2, 2011

    Would the England team have behaved the same way if the roles had been reversed and the crowd had been jubliant at the OUT decision?

    1. Gary
      August 2, 2011

      While England believed the right outcome had been achieved, it was only three years ago that they were criticised for failing to withdraw a run-out appeal against New Zealand’s Grant Elliott during a one-day international at The Oval. Elliott had collided with England’s Ryan Sidebottom and was sprawling on the ground when dismissed. Collingwood , the captain, refused to reinstate the batsman. “Something happened in a one-day international and I think we all put our hands up and admitted we made a wrong decision,” said Bell.

      1. Winston Smith
        August 2, 2011

        This was played at the Oval in a one-day game and the English crowd booed Collingwood’s decision not to drop the dismissal. However, this was not straightforward, as Elliot had hesitated to run on a blocked delivery, while Sidebottom was racing down the pitch to run out the other batsman. The ‘spirit of cricket’ suggests Elliot should have been spared, but he actually prevented Sidebottom from running out his team-mate.

    2. Winston Smith
      August 2, 2011

      My experience of Test match crowds suggests they would have turned on the England team and Strauss, once the nature of the ‘dimissal’ was known, if the roles were reversed.

      The spirit of cricket should be celebrated. However, it is a tradition that has no relevance in the ‘Real World, as the English World Cup bid discovered’. Unfortunately, a lack of experience in the wider World of politics and business or even Sport ie endemic amongst our middle-class rulig elite and particularly, the utopian socialist type – a group I would place the current Conservative party leadership amongst. Real life is tough, there is little sense of fairness and justice. Globalisation has exposed traditional British middle-class values a worthless. People in Asia, Africa and most of Europe do not play by ‘cricket’ rules. Corruption is rife, whether it is political, favouritism, nepotism, bribery or ‘entertaining’. You cannot do profitbale business in the soon to be World’s largest economy without entering into any of the above. Look at the EU, time and time again, our politicians have played a ‘straight bat’ in negotiations and have been shafted on every occasion.

      We need the self-made businessmen, the aspiring working-class and proven achievers to be representing our interests in Government. Instead, I see them discarded and ignored by the Cameron clique. For what?

      1. MickC
        August 2, 2011

        Yes, quite.

        Cameron and his pals have no idea about the real world-e.g. the mess he has got us into over Libya.

        David Davis should have been leader.

    3. John Adlington
      August 2, 2011

      If England had have dismissed an Indian batsman in the same way I would have been appalled and would have taken no further interest in the game. I would hazard a guess that if the situation you describe had arisen there would quite possibly have been a riot, esp. if it was Tendulkar.

  3. zorro
    August 2, 2011

    It wasn’t appropriate to have even tried to have run him out in those circumstances, but they were a bit desperate…..As you said it was clear that Bell and a few others thought the ball was dead. Good sportsmanship (positive interpretation) with a little encouragement from the crowd saw the right decision being made. Guidance of the wise, obedience of fools etc…..I wasn’t overly impressed with Atherton or Hussain’s curmudgeonly interpretation saying that he should have been out. But then Mr Atherton knows all about sportsmanship and ‘getting his hands dirty’…..


  4. Peter Huntington
    August 2, 2011

    The boundary decision should have been reviewed. I`m still not clear if the ball went for 4 or not. If it was a 4 Bell was not out. If it was not, it would have given the Indian side time to reflect on whether an appeal was justified in the circumstances.

  5. alan jutson
    August 2, 2011

    Yes in this day where Regulation seems to govern everything, a refreshing change, although I am given to understand under cricketing rules, that once a player is given out by the umpire, there is no way back, not even if the umpire wants to change his mind.

    A victory at last for commonsense and for the spirit of the rules of the game, but try this in a law court over some minor offence, or with the Inland Revenue over a minor honest mistake on a tax return form, and see what the result is.

    Perhaps the difference is, the umpires (as yet) do not rule with a tick box culture, but are allowed to use their own judgment.

    Intresting that Strauss when interviewed, said it was a lesson to him as well.

    Well done India, who have shown that the spirit of the game is still important in these days where winning at all costs (almost any cost) seems to be the mantra.

  6. lifelogic
    August 2, 2011

    Also so rare that it does not make me feel better about human nature at all. The exception that perhaps proves the rule about human nature alas.

    1. lifelogic
      August 2, 2011

      No one who has ever been a landlord or observed most politicians or people in general can have a very high opinion of human nature in general. Nor anyone who has observed the rubbish chucked on to the the streets every day the bottles thrown into private gardens rather than just binned.

      There are a few honourable exceptions but they are very rare. That is why the social security system have to encourage work and self sufficiency where ever possible and systems need to control the state sector so it does not become too parasitic as it now is. They need to accept human nature and work with it not live in a socialist, big state, dream world.

      1. Bazman
        August 2, 2011

        Or a right wing fantasy?

  7. Caterpillar
    August 2, 2011

    The advantage of reason and reflection over the contemporary habit of quick quip, tw**ty Twitter, Today Programme putdown or Commons’ catcalls?

  8. Demetrius
    August 2, 2011

    A player who is also a Gentleman, it is good to see they still exist. India did not deserve to be booed. Going in last on a worn wicket after three innings played in hot humid conditions is never easy and usually a struggle. They are going to win a few.

  9. Robert Taggart
    August 2, 2011

    Was it ‘cricket’ what happened out there ?… six of one half dozen of t’other.
    India – we owe you one !

  10. Peter Turner
    August 2, 2011

    India are probably the most enthusiastic cricket players in the world. If they continue to play the game not only within the laws of the game but also within the spirit of the game then cricket is safe for the future. Well done India.

  11. Mr Leslie Smith
    August 2, 2011

    Winston Smith above, ( my namesake as Smith) makes some very telling observations, which I can only fully endorse, and support after fifty years of working, myself.

    Cameron and the Etonian Oinks still do not “get it..” Those of us who have been aspiring working class in our youth, then made it through Universites and had successful careers, followed often by ten or twenty years running our own businesses, could really tell this Government how it is “Out There.”

    The Public have little faith in any Politicians right now, they are worried, anxious about their children’s futures and simply “want their Country back”. We want votes to really count, we want MPs who will represent us first, not their Party or their own narrow career interests. They are really scared when they hear of how much debt this Country now has. They are furious that this Government is still spending more each year, than the last.

    So many PM’s are flattered when businessmen/women from the City or business take them to a posh lunch, or for a week skiing in the Alps. Once you have someone’s ego flattered, you simply have to pull the levers of “Fear” and “Greed” Fear that they might lose this great new feeling of being noticed and new status and Greed that they want more.more.more and we the Voters who put them there, are quickly forgotten.

    In business, in the REAL World, we get used to these games, certainly by the time we are forty. Your manifesto from the British people could be one page. You all know what the MAJORITY of British voters want, and their priorities. Why does Cameron, Clegg and Gang think firstly, that we have no memories and secondly, we are not far smarter and more experienced than they are. But we do not sell either our honour, or our souls, for power and position and prestige. You would all do well to remember that. Mr Redwood is only kept out from the Government Pack as he is far too dangerous and smart for their liking. He listens to us and solicits our views.

    Cameron has his T shirt, bike riding Steve Hilton, who is bright but not truly street smart and proven experienced, in real deal making as many of your readers clearly are today. I built a multi million pound business over fifteen years, from a log cabin in my garden, all from scratch. My own money, my own idea and my own hard work. Where are such people in Cabinet?

  12. Quietzaple
    August 2, 2011

    Twas suggested that any Indian captain might have considered how matters would have stood in India were an Indian batsman have been given out in corresponding circumstances

    Fair play often has such checks among the intelligent

    Rarely applies in politics

  13. Bernard Otway
    August 2, 2011

    Absolutely right Mr leslie Smith ,I too did what you did,in South Africa I started from a Barrow in a shopping centre in 1988 and within 4 years had 60 shops ,in 1988 I was already 43,experience and guile plus ruthlessness were in place,the ruthlessness learned in Australia and South Africa particularly the latter.That is why I actually HATE the political class with a few exceptions [in this country], although I am British with a grandfather who was a senior doctor in WW1 behind the lines and a Father who received the Kings police medal and bar,
    and the Colonial police medal and bar around WW2,plus a mother who rescued over 600 wounded servicemen at Dunkirk [read about nurse Mary Gutteridge of the QARANC on their website]. My son in law was a tank commander in the SA defence force and sitting in a tank outside LUANDA ANGOLA in the mid 1980’s waiting for the orders to attack from PW BOTHA [which never came due to outside pressure],if they had attacked the situation
    in SA would not have changed even now and many in the country did not like stopping,also pre 1994 when the AWB went rampaging into Bophutatswana in MMBATHO when those 4 farmers were executed by the homeland defence force,General
    Constant Viljoen was on the Airbase with 6000 crack soldiers waiting to stage a coup,BUT
    when he saw the idiots those farmers make fools of themselves he stopped his action
    and the rest is History,in talking to him he regrets that he did not follow through,saying he as well as PW Botha was not ruthless enough.That is why we cocked up Iraq,Afganistan
    and now Libya,our leaders are players and mostly transient, Blair only lasted as long as he did because the British electorate were Mesmerised as much as I was by a pretty girl in my youth,plus he and Brown were in a texas stand off until he realised in 2007 the game was up and got out to become rich while he could [Brown will NEVER make as much as Blair
    unless he writes a tell all blockbuster,which would then make liebour unelectable for a very long time].The conservative party are too consumed with being nice not nasty[Ruthless]
    that is why Cameron is leader when it should be someone like you John or Carswell or
    Hannan who can eviscerate opponents with truthful criticism,ie Blair brown sold our gold at an average of $268 an ounce [FACT] and lost at todays prices $1332 an ounce ,therefore 415 tons @32150 ounces X $1332 WHY WHY WHY,WHY was our pension system effectively destroyed despite Brown being warned about it as well as Milliband E and Balls
    and much much more.Why does Paxman NOT ask these two questions of that Triumvirate.

    1. Quietzaple
      August 3, 2011

      You didn’t notice similar reining back of IR concessions to those building pensions when Tory Chancellors gave the nod to their officials then?

  14. Electro-Kevin
    August 3, 2011

    How much Aid do we give to India ?

    1. Robert Taggart
      August 4, 2011

      Too much ! They wanted their independence in order to look after themselves – SO LET THEM !

  15. Mike Fowle
    August 3, 2011

    It was an interesting point. I think you sum up the two sides of the argument very well. I had rather hoped for some enlightened and erudite comment from cricket lovers, not the usual sounding off by the usual cabbies. Rather disappointing.

  16. John C
    August 3, 2011

    Just compare that to football where most “professional” footballers basically cheat to gain every advantage.

    From claiming a throw in or a corner when the player knows he touched the ball last to Thierry Henry and his handball come goal which took France to the world cup.

    It was great to see such true sportsmanship. Well done to the Indian team.

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