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Sight Screen

Thursday, August 04, 2005

An appeal to reason

Ashish Nehra reprimanded, Farveez Maharoof reprimanded -- two news bullettins, both from the ICC site.
Maharoof pleaded guilty to the charge of celebrating the dismissal before the umpire had made his decision and of not turning around and appealing to the umpire - also known as excessive appealing under Clause 1.5.

If the dog barks when people are sleeping, it is causing a public nuisance. If the dog doesn't bark when I am sleeping, that is equally a public nuisance -- I end up sitting all night, waiting for it to bark and wondering why it isn't -- is the darn animal dead? or is it just laryngitis? should I call the vet? -- and in the process reduce myself to a nervous wreck!
This rule -- I notice a lot of posts on this in the Ashes thread -- is not new. But it still merits questioning -- just what is with the ICC and its rules anyways? Apparently the official reasoning is (I remember reading this at the time the rule was introduced) that a bowler celebrating a dismissal without first appealing to the umpire, and waiting for him to raise his finger, is pre-emtping the umpire's decision; and by celebrating before a verdict is given, he is putting pressure on the poor umpire.
All of this stuff makes me wish Lewis Carroll were reincarnated -- Alice Redux, falling down the well into the ICC's executive chamber, might have taken to wondering what she was fussing about re the March Hare.
I mean, a batsman, say, whacks at a ball. Up it goes, off the leading edge, high in the air and down the throat of cover. The happy bowler takes off like a rocket.
Bad boy -- by doing that, he is reducing the poor umpire, who has such a difficult decision to make, to the status of quivering jelly!
Assume, for a moment, that the umpire -- whose sole business at times like this should be judging the line, and where the ball pitched and what it was doing when it hit the pad (in case of LBWs) and whether it touched bat or glove or no (in case of catches) -- is incredibly pressurised by the bowler (who he shouldn't even be considering) celebrating prematurely.
Assume, too, that we being humane, want to spare the poor umpire as much of pressure as we can. Now tell me this -- which of the two would, if you were an umpire, be more difficult to take: A bowler airplaning his way down the pitch because the ball took a chip off the bat's edge on the way through to the keeper? Or the giant screens you find in every ground, flashing repeated replays, hawkeye simulations et al, to show said umpire, and everyone else on the field and in the stands, what a stupid berk he was to say not out when a ball landed middle and full and hit the pad and would have crippled the middle stump?
If you appeal louder than 20 decibels, foul. If you appeal more than twice, no go, that is excessive. If you celebrate before appealing, no can do, bad boy, take three in the seat of the pants...
Is it just my imagination, or did the ICC get taken over, this decade, by a bunch of retired headmasters from the stricter public schools?


  • Thanks Prem for putting this news up.

    I don't understand how is it possible for a bowler (in the intensity that he is playing or supposedly playing at this level) to appeal or not celebrate for obvious catches or stumpings, runouts, etc? What does this rule achieve other than blocking spontaneous emotions which forms the essence of the game? Isn't the umpire supposed to absorb the pressure and deliver?
    And since I am ranting...how the heck is "not appealing" classified as "excessive appealing"? ICC surely enriches our lives with these ultimate paradoxes!

    By Blogger Anand K, at 14:09  

  • I think it also had to do with the players having to show their respect for the umpire's decision. By ignoring him, they are essentially disrespecting him.

    Pity this doesn't extend to the curses the umpires take for not givng an lbw

    By Blogger Abe, at 14:17  

  • Also, shouldn't same penalty apply to Adam Gilchrist or any other batsman when he walks without waiting for umpire's decision?

    By Blogger LinkLover, at 14:27  

  • Hi
    Very good point raied here. It is *IMPOSSIBLE* for a guy toiling o\for hrs under the baking sun in unforgiving conditions, under intense pressure to not jump for joy or pump his fist when he takes a wicket, especially for caught behind. Most caught behinds bolers know and never appeal, if u notice carefully, just assume the umpire has iven out and only stop and turn around when he hasnt. The generall appealing per se is restricted to LBW, where the bowler assumes the umpire actually has to make a decision!!!!
    So how do u curb this???

    By Blogger KB, at 14:33  

  • prem,
    do remember that viru saga in africa.i think presidents of players associations (i know tim may for aus,whose ours dodno) should voice these concerns.othervise people like Bucknor will keep abusing players and also teams.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 14:34  

  • I think it was real simple in the good old days before all these ICC regulations about behavior and appealing came along...

    Agreed thare should be regulations in instances like about delibrate slowing in an ODI but they have stretched it a bit too far.

    By Blogger Kannan, at 14:41  

  • As far as I can remember, the ICC enforces this penalty only when the bowler goes through celebrating the wicket when actually it isn't a dimissal. I don't think celebrations on obvious dismissals are subject to any penalty.

    And I think abe is right that the ICC's main concern is bowlers showing disrespect to the umpire.

    By Blogger Harsha V. Madhyastha, at 15:42  

  • Why can't people appeal. What's this thing with excessive applealing. The job of an umpire is to upheld an appeal or not, the way by which people appeal should not be of any concern to the umpire. ICC is turning the game of cricket into a farce.

    By Blogger rahul, at 15:50  

  • It is also funny how only players from the sub-continent get punished on excessive appealing. I don't want to suggest a racial bias.
    But a few incidents come to mind. I remember Damien Fleming flaring up when he thought that the umpire ruled against him on an lbw decision. The batsman he was bowling to was nowhere near being out.
    Slater's anger against RD in a test match in Mumbai is another one.
    All these might have been before these special rules came.

    But what abt Steve Bucknor pointing his finger at Parthiv and gesturing l;ike Hitler might have if he was an umpire?

    What abt the same idiot rubbing the ball and smiling when RD walked in to bat, the way RD did when he apparently tampered with the ball?

    What Dennes the Menace when he slapped punishment on half the Indian team for ridiculous things ranging from excessive appealing to tampering the ball? Honestly, if SRT wanted to tamper the ball, I am sure he is intelligent enough to avoid doing it in plain sight of the world.
    Jaggu, with all his political clout has done nothing in this regard.

    By Blogger Toney, at 16:17  

  • prem ,

    i think your take (and many others)on this issue is wrong .... though the sarcasm is good ..it is misplaced.

    i dont think the icc is stupid enough to punish a bowler for not appealing, when he gets the batsman out caught in covers or bowled .. in such cases the umpires does not even have to make a decision ....

    the ump makes a decision only when the mode of dismissal is very close (like fine edge down the legside or a close bat-pad) .... in such cases, if the bowler or the entire team starts celebrating without appealing, an inexperienced umpire might actually give it out (even if he thinks it is not out, when the batsman might actually be out). That is a natural, unavoidable, human reaction, though the ump shuld actually be doing all the things u said in ur post...

    What you say about giant screen replays ....has nothing to do with excessive appealing .... it a question of umps being allowed to use tech ... a totally diff issue.

    The ICC, i think , believes that the umps power is undermined if players prematurely celebrate a dismissal, when the dismissal actually merits a decision from the ump ....

    whew ! ... long post ...

    but i agree that ICC culd have come up with a better name ....and i also agree somehow, the player frm the subcontinent have received a raw deal frm match refrees.....
    but i maintain that the rule is required.

    By Blogger srik, at 17:06  

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