England Team was successful in registering a fantastic victory over the Indians in the second Test played at Trent Bridge. However, the “Bellgate” issue has stained the glorious victory. This match has added an infamous chapter in the history of cricket. A chapter which any cricket lover would like least to remember, after all, it highlights the decline in playing standards. The English Team has proved beyond doubt that hypocrisy is integral part of Victorian culture.
The English Team resting on likes of Michael Paul Vaughan and Stuart Broad, firm believers and followers, of corrupt Vaseline Theory have the guts to remind about the spirit of the game. Why is the Indian team all the time expected to honour the sportsmanship? It’s most unfortunate that Ian Bell was allowed to play again after declared out. It’s not sportsmanship but it’s dictatorship of England team, British Media And British spectators.The glaring contradictions inherent in the approach of England Team and British Media would make any cricket lover bow down its head in shame. I mean the same team who few hours back shamelessly projected a dubious Vaseline theory making Stuart Broad check the bat of V V S Laxman was now cursing Indian team for making a valid appeal against Ian Bell!
The British Media, representative of truth and transparency, was busy engaged in making mockery of mannerism and sensibility of the Indian team. The British Media failed to remember that just few hours ago when English team made a flawed lbw appeal against Harbhajan Singh and eventually got his wicket, the English players had already lost all moral rights to preach others about sportsmanship. No wonder the British crowd too lost its cool and entered in booing, failing to realize that there was nothing wrong with India’s appeal. However, the teams like England and Australia when visit Indian subcontinent often clamour against crowd mismanagement, security, weather, food and lots of other silly concerns. This incident shows that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. The way crowd treated with Indian players makes one feel that Indian players owe more to the interests of crowd than interests related with the game.
Ironically, a latest news report has rubbished the claims of Michael Paul Vaughan, which states that “the makers of the Hot Spot technology insisted it could not be nobbled by grease” .”We have done testing over the past two days in our office and can conclude that putting Vaseline on the side of a cricket bat has no discernible effect on our Hot Spot system. Maybe if you were able to apply 10 millimetres (a centimetre) of Vaseline on the side of the bat it would make a difference but we believe that this would be near impossible to achieve.”(BBG Sports). Coming back to the Ian Bell issue I must say that in no case he should have been recalled or I must say as per letter of the law he had no rights to be in the field again.
“Under Law 27.8, the reprieve shouldn’t have been allowed anyway, as any player must be recalled before they have left the field of play.”. I stand by the side of the Telegraph report which ,in fact, is one of the few newspapers which took a perfect stand on it. Hailing the decision of India to recall as “illogical” it clearly states that: “The spirit of cricket has its place but it was not being abused here. Bell, who’d played superbly to that point, should have remained dismissed, following his naive presumption that a leg-side flick from Eoin Morgan, which had been clumsily fielded at long leg by Praveen Kumar, had gone for 4.”
However, something more disastrous was in the cards. It’s shocking that England team’s coach Andy Flower and Captain Andrew Strauss visited India’s dressing-room during the tea break virtually compelling Mahendra Singh Dhoni to quash his appeal. The Indian captain instead of acting in tough way for the sake of game exhibited mindless “generosity” and gave way to the indecent demand all in name of sportsmanship. I wonder how does honouring the illegal wish honours the sportsmanship? I am really stunned the way British and Indian media both see it as a great gesture in league with real sportsmanship. Even some great names, who differ in their off-the record versions, are hailing the immaturity shown by M S Dhoni. How come asking the batsmen to bat again when he is really out constitutes sportsmanship?
Many in India are wrongly comparing Dhoni’s gesture to withdraw the appeal with Gundappa Viswanath’s gesture to recall Bob Taylor in 1980 Mumbai Test. However, one forgets that in Vishwanath’s case the batsmen was wrongly given out, and therefore, it was quite appropriate gesture on part of Vishhwanath to recall Taylor. That’s indeed within purview of sportsmanship. In Dhoni’s case not only the batsman was perfectly out but also the scope of making a recall had absolutely no chance since a new session came into effect. One needs to take into account the fact that the way Indian dressing room was visited by the coach and captain is a various serious issue. Once the third umpire has delivered his verdict what was the urgency on part of English team to see Bell back on the field?
I need to appreciate the stand of Ian Botham. Thank God there are some people still left who can speak in unambiguous terms! Botham in his column in The Mirror stated that” having been legitimately run out by the Indians with his mind on a huge round of applause and a cup of tea he had no right to expect to be batting after the break He was out I can understand why MS Dhoni withdrew his appeal and decided to go along with the spirit of the game but I would have had no problem if he had upheld it and sent a message about dopey cricket.” He then says that ” the game should be played fair but it should be played hard and if you don’t know the laws then find them out quickly because it is no place to wander about with your head in the clouds.”
Shane Warne stating that “Bell was at fault in the episode” rightly treats recall as one that would be “seen in the prism of politics”. However, the English media feels otherwise. Derek Pringle in The Telegraph conveys the impression that ultimately English team ‘won the moral debate” even after the Bell’s admission that he was indeed out if one goes by the letter of the law. Bell calls himself to be “naive” but how should we react to the crowd’s stupid behaviour and unusual gesture of Captain and the Coach of England who dared to visit the dressing room? Should they also now declare themselves to be “naive”?
In nutshell, it would be hard to forget this tragic episode which let the gentleman’s game succumb to double standards and hypocrisy at its best. I am still trying to find the answer to this question but the answer remains elusive. If Bell knew he was out then what made him come back on the crease in the post-Tea session?The anarchism that prevails in ordinary human life now seems to have entered in the world of cricket, giving rise to use of unfair means and cheap manipulation with the help of power and money.