By Orville Higgins
The decision by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to ban Denesh Ramdin for two games, plus take away his entire match fee, is completely unwarranted. Cricket administrators need to stop trying to make saints out of merely mortals.
Pakistan captain Misbah Ul Haq edged a ball from Kemar Roach through to Ramdin. He dived, took the ball in the gloves, and then the umpire promptly gave Ul Haq out. By the time Ramdin hit the ground though, the ball had fallen out of the glove. Ramdin himself didn't appeal, and only celebrated after he realised the umpire had given the man out.
TV confirmed that the ball had dropped and the batsman was effectively reinstated at the crease. That should have been the end of that, but the next thing we know is that Ramdin was sanctioned for 'not playing to the spirit of the game'. This is nonsense!
NO APPEAL FROM RAMDIN
Check YouTube. The umpire was so quick to give the man out that Ramdin didn't even appeal. He didn't have time to. Ramdin didn't 'claim' the catch prior to the umpire's decision. His behaviour and body language in no way 'influenced' the umpire's decision. The umpire, quite wrongly, chose to give the man out, even while Ramdin was in the process of 'catching' the ball.
Therefore, Ramdin didn't cheat. You can't be considered a cheat if you didn't do anything to influence the umpire's decision PRIOR TO that decision being made, and were merely reacting AFTERWARDS.
Ramdin merely went along with the decision of an official that was in his favour, which every sportsman does every day of the week. A footballer who gets a penalty, no matter how dubious the call, no matter what he thinks about it, doesn't say to the referee, "Now look here, I thought you got that wrong, and therefore I can't take this penalty!"
In a 4x100m relay, if a sprinter steps on the inside line and no official sees it, the athlete isn't expected to go to the powers that be and say, "Listen, disqualify my team, because I transgressed."
A boxer who was pounded and pulverised for 12 rounds still celebrates if the judges give him the fight by decision.
Why is cricket different? This business of being a gentleman's game is an outdated concept. No wonder the game is getting less popular. People don't come to sports events to watch 'gentlemen' demonstrating how excellent their morals are. They come to watch people going at it hard and aggressively, leaving only the officials on the field as the sole determinants of what is fair and unfair play.
UMPIRE's WORD IS FINAL
Ironically, one of the tenets preached at young cricketers is that the umpire's word should be treated as final, and must be respected. What the ICC is in effect saying here is that there are times when the umpire's word is not final and, therefore, not to be respected.
If the umpire says you edged the ball when it was nowhere near the bat, off you should go without a word. If the ball pitches a foot outside leg and he gives you out LBW, (which the law says should not happen), you must just grit your teeth and bear it. Respect his decision.
So how can it be, that if the umpire makes one in your favour - especially one that you didn't ask for - that you should not respect such a decision? How does going along with the decision of an official mean that somehow I'm not playing in the right spirit? And again I add, especially a decision that I didn't ask for or coerce in any way.
Ramdin has, in effect, been banned then for not 'helping' the umpire to make the right call. Or for not telling the official that he erred. That is stupid. You can't expect players to play and officiate at the same time.
The person who should really be facing the wrath of the world is the umpire who made that horrible call. At the international level, umpires are well within their right - in fact, they are encouraged - to go for TV replays when it is debatable if the ball carried. The umpire chose not to go to the technology available to him, gives a man out wrongly, a player gleefully accepts and 'respects the umpire's decision', and it is the player, not the umpire, who is being chastised and banned for two games!
What absolute nonsense!
Orville Higgins is a sportscaster and talk-show host on KLAS FM. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.