Walk when out

This is a few days old, but I missed it at the time: Graeme Swann said that Sri Lankan batsman Dilruwan Perera was a ‘cheat’ for not walking after edging a delivery from Jimmy Anderson to slip and not walking. With the umpires unsighted and no cameras at the warmup match Perera was allowed to continue his innings, to the fury of the England players. I would not call it cheating, as he has not contravened any laws, but it certainly is unsporting and especially in a warmup match I think it is despicable behaviour. I understand that a batsman has a duty to try and see his team win the match, but in a warmup match the result is largely irrelevant, so why try to gain an unfair advantage?

It does raise (again) the question of walking in a Test match though. It is a little bit more complicated; the result does matter, so should a batsman do whatever he has to do to stay at the crease? In a word: no. Any sport, not just cricket, is reliant on fair play by all the participants. One does not make an umpire adjudicate if one’s of stump goes cart-wheeling and an edge to slip, even taken near the ground, is usually just as clear cut. The ball has been hit and caught cleanly, so get back to the pavilion. To do otherwise may not be cheating, but it is gaining an unfair advantage by exploiting the limitations of the umpires and of technology. It is dishonest and regardless of how much it helps the team it should not be allowed. The point of any sport is fair competition and resorting to dishonest methods, whether merely unsporting or outright cheating, devalues any subsequent victory.

It is impossible to police, of course, but I do wish that team management, fans and media would come down much more harshly on players who try to con umpires. (Though cricket is much better than most sports.) Players who ‘compete’ like that damage their own and the team’s image and it should not be tolerated. I know it will probably never happen, and that it is probably overly idealistic to even suggest it, but that does not make it wrong.

3 thoughts on “Walk when out

  1. Nice article, and I agree about the spirit of the game etc., especially in a warm up match. However, for Swann to make comment seems a little ridiculous, and for a media manager to allow it is poor. The killing comment alone shows the disregard Swann has for the game, at least in the heat of the moment. My gripe is that at times we condemn batsmen for not walking when there are 2 paid officials to adjudicate on dismissals, yet bowlers, Swann amongst them, are happy to appeal when they know a batsman is not out – where the 2 DRS appeals are gone they go up even more quickly. Cricketers have long memories – Swann is now obligated, through his comments, to walk on every occasion. If he chooses not to, or is given out via DRS then he is likely to get sledged off the field….

    The gentleman’s game seemingly went out the window a long time ago, more the pity…


    1. I’d definitely agree that Swann’s comments were over the top themselves and thinking about I wish I had added a bit about that. And yes, he’s backed himself into a bit of a corner, although he is actually very good about how he appeals. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him go up for one that is obviously not out, though obviously I could have missed more than a few!

      You’re certainly right about the gentleman’s game too. There are some cricketers who are better than others but almost no one walks now and there are certainly a few who I would not necessarily trust regarding low catches. Part of it I understand, everyone wants to see their team win, but I think most people would prefer a fair contest.


      1. I am one of those sports fans who admires the act of sportsmanship more than a winning final result. I agree that a player can be called a cheat for more than “not walking” but for other things such as false appeals from wicketkeepers and bowlers. Some batsman walk when it is convenient, like Sangakkara, resulting is his underserved branding as a “walker”. In fact, I consider him a bona fide “cheater” because he constantly appeals for non-existant nicks behind the stumps. Saint Tendulkar is also, as far as I am concerned, a convenient walker. In the modern times I have seen only one player who has consistently played fair with the bat and behind the stumps and that is Adam Gilchrist.


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