Your team is 6 wickets down and you’ve been under the cosh for the better part of 4 days. Your opponents are your greatest rivals, they’ve been much better than expected and you and your team mates are in danger of being caught with your pants down. You’ve blatantly just knicked a ball right off the shoulder of your bat to first slip but the umpire doesn’t raise his finger. Why hasn’t he raised the deadly digit, you wait for the decision to review it from the opposition captain but wait… He hasn’t got any left… What do you do?
In a split second that’s almost everything that would have gone on in the mind of England’s Stuart Broad. He chose to stand his ground and was pilloried and celebrated in equal measure for it. Should he have walked? In short, No.
Forget the argument about “spirit of the game” for a moment, if you consider this decision in cold terms, not a single one of his opponents would have walked. His opposing captain Michael Clarke has a history of not walking when clearly a goner to everyone except the umpire, so it was testament to everyone in the Aussie dressing room he chose to blame the horrendous umpiring decision than Stuart Broad directly.
In footballing parlons Stuart Broad has played to the whistle here. In a moment of disbelief he can’t believe with his wicket fallen he’s been given a reprieve by his very executioner, he stares 22 yards to await his fate, gutted, mortified but no… It doesn’t… what? At this point Broad has his decision to make and continuing the footballing parlons he has chosen to dive, win the penalty that would give his team a chance in the match.
It’s a let off no doubt but Stuart Broad should not be hung out to dry for choosing to stand his ground, it will provide and important lesson for Michael Clarke and co who wasted the available reviews earlier in the innings. The decisions in place around whether Australia choose to review an umpiring decision should in fact be reviewed, for England the trinity of Bowler, Captain and Wicketkeeper all must agree to review a decision before it is reviewed and that has stood them in good stead, for the Australians there seems to be more deliberation between Captain and Bowler but nothing of anybody else and a good Bowler is typically selfish.
With Regards to the Spirit of Cricket argument there is no doubt that Broads actions are counter to that however this is an Ashes Series when his opponents have form for similar disregard for such sentiment, it was very much in the spirit of this fierce contest that he shouldn’t have walked.
Its nice to see an England player desperate to win. Having grown up watching cricket in the mid 90s watching Atherton and Co get blown away by everybody they faced, an England team with a desire to win at all costs that’s almost Australian!