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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Sporting Gilchrist re-opens walking debate

March 18, 2003 17:30 IST

It seemed like a regulation dismissal. Adam Gilchrist bottom-edged an attempted sweep shot onto his pad, the ball ballooned into the air and was caught by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara.

Regulation it may have been but it was unusual too because, when Rudi Koertzen appeared to mouth 'not out', Gilchrist himself overruled the umpire and headed towards the pavilion.

The trend of walking is now as rare as hen's teeth among professional cricketers as the game has become more hard-bitten and cynical over the past 30 years.

Gilchrist's act, and a similar gesture from Sri Lanka's Aravinda de Silva in the World Cup against Zimbabwe on Saturday, might indicate that some players at least are starting to rediscover a conscience.

The fact that Gilchrist was in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a semi-final between Australia and Sri Lanka made his gesture even more remarkable.

Cricket was for many years a largely amateur game and was seen as the epitome of good sporting behaviour, with phrases such as 'it's just not cricket' entering the English language to indicate something that was patently unfair.

However, an increasing move towards professionalism from the 1970s saw the gradual erosion of such ideals.

Ironically, given Tuesday's incident, it was Australia, under Ian Chappell in the mid-1970s, who were widely credited with starting the trend of not walking, even when the batsman knew he was out.

Chappell's attitude was that it was the umpire's job to make the decision.

As a result, he would stand his ground until the finger was raised, no matter how obvious the dismissal.

DRIVEN TO TEARS

Chappell's approach even drove West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding to tears when he was given not out after apparently edging a catch to wicketkeeper Deryck Murray.

Former England captain Tony Greig was another player with a similar attitude and, although there were exceptions in the years that followed, the act of a player standing his ground gradually permeated through most professionals.

While other sports, such as golf and snooker, commonly see competitors call fouls against themselves, cricket has slipped down that fair-play scale.

Maybe Gilchrist's gesture was an admission by a player that cricket needs to get its house in order.

The game's reputation has suffered terribly in recent years with a betting scandal engulfing the game in 2000 while the current World Cup has been affected by political wrangles over Zimbabwe and Kenya that have detracted from the action on the field.

It may have been one small act but, coming from a well-respected player in the game's highest profile tournament, it was as welcome as it was refreshing.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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Number of User Comments: 24




Sub: Gilchrist's

I think what Gilchrist did was a good gesture but we should not hold anything against a batsman who does not walk. A lot of ...


Posted by Arvind





Sub: To walk or not to walk

I think something like this is fantastic for the game.I remember in last years Australian tour of South Africa Gilchrist had edged a ball to ...


Posted by ramanujamsridhar





Sub: Walking batsmen

I appreciate Adam Gilchrist, hitherto known only for his aggression. Can anybody talk or write about batsman walking on his own without referring to Brian ...


Posted by R.Sridharan





Sub: Gilchrist gesture

Gilchrist is the only gentleman in this side of foul-mouthed, arrogant, overacted australians. The australian cricketers over the years have the worst form of gesture ...


Posted by Salam Javed





Sub: Gilchrist's gesture

It might be great for Gilchrist, for this Australian will be doing this for the first time in life. But others do.. Lara is the ...


Posted by Shrinidhi




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