Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Not sheepish enough

Pardon me while I enjoy a little chuckle at Mukul Kesavan's brilliant nailing of, shall we say, a small inconsistency in Michael Atherton's attitude towards beamers. As always, check out the comments to see just how much Kesavan has managed to get under some folks' skins. Mos' def' Cricinfo's best blogger.


Blogger Golandaaz said...

It is easy to point out Atherton's double standards and move on. The issue is not of atherton's consistency of interpretation of a beamer and the apology that follows.

This is clearly a case of a right issue brought to light by a man who obvioulsy flip-flops.

I think he has raised a point that needs further discussion. For whatever reason, he wants to give the benefit of the doubt to Lee and not to Sree

Irrespective of that I think he brings up the right issue. Beamers need to be completely eliminated. Anything that the ICC can do to discourage intended beamers should be welcome by all

10:47 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Golandaaz: I'm not sure how beamers can be completely eliminated. They do happen accidentally (I know, because I've bowled a couple in my time). So how are we to determine intent? Since we don't have a method that isn't subject to the ad-hocism that Atherton indulges in, we are stuck with what we have today: the principle of charity is automatically extended to the bowler if he makes an apology and everyone gets on with it. I fail to see what the alternative is. Umpires and captains can censure certain players if they don't apologize (which is what Akhtar was guilty of). Incidentally, while you want to move past Atherton giving a pass "for whatever reason" to Lee, I suggest the issue is to see why this issue exercises him so much when similar incidents haven't. Players playing within a system which is transparently unfair (and I suggest the kind of media pressure folks like Atherton exert renders this system unfair) are unlikely to take too kindly to it. Look at this way, its been 8 days since the test ended; we are still talking about the damn beamer. How long did conversations about Akhtar's or Harmison's beamers last?

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What stumps me is Athers's selective bias. He talks high and "morally" about Lee and Sreesanth, but conviniently forgets Harmison s beamer. And given his wayward antics Harmison is more prone to bowl a beamer any day than the 3 offenders in the memory -- Lee, Akhtar and Sreesanth.

And Akhtar is a sort of character who would like to bowl a beamer knowingly and not accidentally as most of the bowlers try to put it (As Athers suggests)

Perhaps its getting a bit too hard for English ex-players to digest that they are on the verge of losing a Test series. Even if India looses this test , they would have dented English pride and honnour. If that happens India would be the only team to escape an English defeat in the new millenium on English soil.

But i doubt if that would happen. Dravid and other members of the team would be too ferocious to let this happen.

Whatever be the case, we are in for a cracker of a Test match.

12:41 AM  
Blogger John said...

Hey Samir,
Excellent cricket writing. I am a Mallu, and am very interested to see whether what you said could be true - Sreesanth's axing from the Oval Test.
Meanwhile, could you link my blog please.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Golandaaz said...

There are 2 issues here. Atherton's selective bias and the issue of the beamer. I have no inclination, intent or the time to support or condemn Atherton. Don't confuse my stand to in any way justify Atherton.

I feel he is bringing the ight issue to attention. His own stand on the issue does not matter.

Also what is the problem statement? The problem is "How do we (the ICC) eliminate beamers?" No solution is perfect, but no one stops finding a solution because none exist.

"Guilty until proven innocent" is in my opinion the right beamer policy. A beamer at the batsman earns a bowler an automatic punishment. He should be given time, audience and support to prove his innocence. Once innocence is proven the punishment can be reverted.

Yes a few bowlers will be unjustly puniched but that always happens. A few who pay the pirce as communities prosper.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...


Aha, OK. If we are going to settle on what I think what lawyers would term "strict liability", then a fair penalty needs to be worked out, which would take care of potential innocents being punished once in a while while ensuring that the guilty always are. What would such a penalty look like? Runs? Bans for a match (the most extreme) ? I'm not sure which would suit the perceived gravity of this offence. Incidentally, I don't think reverting the punishment is going to work - some kinds of punishment (in fact most) aren't susceptible to being reverted in a way that is fair to the one punished. And I'll reiterate my earlier point: when communities set up systems of justice, they must be perceived to be fair, otherwise they will fail (and no utilitarian claim that "the majority will benefit" will work, if they system is seen to be inherently unfair). Ad-hocism doesn't go well with systems of justice.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Golandaaz said...

I think you summed it up well and I agree no solution will be perfect but even a 20% solution will be a step in the right direction. Also any solution results in mushrooming of other uninteded problems which can be solved over time on a case by case basis.

My point was lets us forget about Atherton and focus on the beamer

8:28 AM  

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