These are my columns published in The Cricket Paper in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons. You can find my book "The effing c-word" at www.thewhitewords.com, my cricket club at www.damerhamcc.com, and you can join me on twitter @siwhite0. Comments welcome.
Friday, 31 July 2015
Column 25, 2015 – You'll never walk alone
Printed in The Cricket Paper, issue 128, Friday July 31, 2015. [Full text below] (Not all that delighted with how I was subbed this week. Suggest you read the original text, below the pic.)
myself into another ‘walking debate’ on twitter again the other day.
(not a cricket specialist; a political commentator writing about cricket)
expressed the opinion that Jos Buttler walking in the second Ashes Test at
Lord’s was refreshing, and caused him to reflect once more on what a shame it
is that cricket is no longer on free-to-air telly, as that’s exactly the sort
of honourable conduct he thought impressionable youngsters should witness from
dewy-eyed perhaps, but fundamentally I agree. (Somewhat surprisingly, as I
disagree with most of what he says.)
writer expressed derision for this bleeding heart sentiment. I enquired after
the nature of the contempt. Another writer joined in. Here, in essence, is
not a thing, said one. It doesn’t matter if you do it or not, we shouldn’t
focus on it. All it does is fuel the ‘spirit of cricket’ pomposity which
blights the game. Exactly, said the other. The spirit of cricket is baloney.
[I’m paraphrasing.] In fact, I’ll go further: it does matter, walking is
selfish, no professional cricketer should ever walk as it’s never in their
team’s best interests.
understand this attitude, especially in the professional game with professional
umpires. But I disagree with it. Which is fine, of course. Other opinions are
view, the issue is whether the umpire thinks you hit it. In mine, the issue is
whether you think you hit it.
You hit it,
they catch it, you’re out. That’s cricket. I don’t mean that’s ‘the spirit of
cricket’, I mean that’s cricket. That’s the game.
version seems to be “don’t-get-caught-getting-caught”. Which, as well as less
fair, to me also seems a lot less interesting than cricket.
was the last of our league derbies, against Hyde. We know them well, share nets
and players for friendlies, midweek and indoor leagues. This always lends
Saturday derbies spice.
I turn my head to see the ball hit
the keeper’s gloves and the slips go up. I didn’t hit it. I’m sure I didn’t hit
it. If I thought I had, I’d be walking.
The cordon’s clearly convinced, but
only one opinion matters. I turn back to see it delivered via an unequivocally
raised index finger as the appeals turn to celebrations. I feel that momentary
flash of indignation at being given out, usually reserved for LBWs. That’s
life. No one said it was fair. Head down, I turn for the pavilion.
even halfway there when a second, rather larger indignation creeps over me.
This one is much more complicated and subtle. These people I play cricket with,
teammates on other days, are going to assume I did that on purpose. They’ll
think I hit it and deliberately stood my ground. That’s what it’ll look like:
like I’m playing “don’t-get-caught-getting-caught” instead of cricket.