Thursday, July 31, 2008

The mighty, not excitable, cricketer

All cricketers are equal, some are more equal than others:
Incredulity, closely followed by incandescence, was Flintoff's reaction when Jacques Kallis, on 55, was struck flush on the toe, plumb in front of middle stump, and with the bat not even close to the action. He appealed, then pleaded, then demanded, and at the end of the over, could still be heard giving Dar an earful as the pair moved to their positions at square leg.
As this is merely a "passionate Englishman fighting hard for his country" and not an excitable subcontintental throwing a hissy fit (or better still, just plain cheating), one can be sure that the match referee will not be handing out dissent charges. Yawn. Do people still wonder why there are chips on shoulders? No, don't bother answering that.


Blogger Jrod said...

Ponting got charged with dissent over less than what Freddy did in the Windies.

Whoops sorry, that doesn't fit into the chip on the shoulder thing now does it.

7:26 AM  
Blogger straight point said... must have heard saying that exceptions only proves rules... :)

7:57 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

Wonder what the Oram one for punching his bat proves.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

JRod: It simply adds a data point to the theory which says that enforcement of these rules is grossly inconsistent, and if looked at closely, you can see a pattern. To really settle this argument one way or the other would need watching every single tape of every single match played since the introduction of the match referee. The ones that Indian fans have seen convinces them that the pattern goes one way (unsurprisingly, they've seen plenty of games in which opponents have gotten away with murder). Your mileage may vary. But if you have the time, check out two things: the language used to describe these "moments of passion" and how it varies by nationality; and perhaps look into the history of the match referee, the various charges of inconsistency over the years, and the relative merits of the claims. I've been following the match referee for a long time (since the mid-90s, I think), and I know what my opinions on this subject are. I've seen enough. (Simply coming up with the odd counterexample does nothing to outweigh the host of data points accumulated over the years for the contrary thesis).

12:16 PM  
Blogger Jrod said...

Samir, when i find fans of a country that don't believe umpires and referees don't punish them while letting others off I may start looking for proof of bias.

You know i don't base my inklings on research, but i have seen Sreesanth get away with dissent that makes me cringe and english players charged with it over trivial stuff.

I do not disagree with the fact it is inconsisent, but as for bias, I believe that to be a gross exaggeration.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Jrod: I don't know whether to call it bias, which is a strong word. However, its not too much of a stretch to suggest that preconceptions have formed and that these affect the match referee's decisions (gee, ok, sounds like bias). It is this sort of view which since it is so deeply ingrained is very hard to combat. Thats why I mentioned the description of Flintoff - in that view, Flintoff gets off because of a certain kind of typecasting. Or consider the Denness case when Indian fielders got hauled up for "overappealing".

I'm not sure that all fans believe the match referee system to not work for them. The most vocal complainers have been Indians (I don't recollect complaints by English, Aussie, West Indian, South African, Kiwi fans of a systematic bias). The Pakistanis have complained, yes, and the Sri Lankans have had their own set of run-ins with the umpires. My feeling is that Aussie fans feels their team gets the shaft when it comes to criticisms of bad behavior, while others are let off.

Historically, Indian problems with match referees started when there were complaints about sledging which were just ignored. And they got hit with dissent charges, which seemed like just as much bad behavior to them (if my memories are correct).

4:18 PM  
Blogger Jrod said...

Like I said Samir, most fans think their own side gets a bad run one way or another. And the only flat out bias i have ever seen in modern cricket is for Murali and all suspect actions (how the % kept changing), and any decisions made by Darrel Hair where two nations of differing skin colours are involved (ie, always giving out dark players to shocking LBW's when white bowlers are on, etc).

As for the actual issue at hand, Freddie should go for dissent, but he wouldn't be the first player to be let off when the decision is a real stinker.

6:18 PM  

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