A TEST OF CONSCIENCE..
It`s some years now since our old friend "sport at the highest level" ceased to be a game and became a business. For Corinthian traditionalists like me that was regrettable but probably inevitable. Now the business that was once a game seems to be developing into a war zone, where winning is everything at whatever cost, where corners are cut, where every advantage is taken and where no opportunity is lost to get the result.
Now us die-hard cricket lovers have just sat through four and a half days of one of the most compelling Test matches seen on these shores for many a year. It had everything a cricket match could have - brilliant individual performances, a swinging pendulum, uncertainty of outcome, a gripping finale - but, in keeping with the times, more than its fair share of controversy. There were errors by officials who, of course, are never allowed to be human enough to make mistakes and there were `incidents` from a number of players.
Now before I jump onto the Stuart Broad bandwagon, it`s only fair to mention the reaction of Shane Watson towards the umpires on his dismissal, the problems with the decision review system and more than one glaring example of what is laughingly known as `gamesmanship.` But as for Stuart Broad, well, he really should have departed the scene having score 37 runs but he went on to make 65 and it might well be argued in all the amber nectar consolation that those `extra` 28 runs turned out to be the difference between victory and defeat, as Australia lost by a mere 14.
Much has been written, commentated, twittered, facebooked and all the rest of it about Broad`s decision to stand his ground and virtually demand that the umpire decide whether he was caught or not despite it being obvious to everyone that he had been. Some, like me, would say that Broad should have walked - the `spirit of the game` and all that - whilst others insist that he was `within his rights` to await the umpire`s verdict. It`s controversial alright and umpires aren`t allowed to make mistakes, are they?
Now when I played the game, even at my pitiful village green level of ability, I always knew as a batsman whether I was out and anyone who has ever held a bat in anger will know it too. And so I always walked, knowing deep down that to do otherwise would not only offend the `spirit of the game,` offend the opposing team, but also offend my conscience.....and I do like to sleep nights. We have just witnessed a memorable test of cricketing ability; such a pity that, within it, a defining test of conscience was failed so blatantly. It will be instructive to discover what, if anything, the match referee made of it all.