Media wrap: Reaction to the Broad controversy


It goes without saying that most former England players were on Broad's side, saying he was right to stand and wait for the umpire's decision. Other pundits, and most newspaper writers, felt Broad violated the 'spirit of the game'.

Well! Hasn't this been an cracker of a Test in terms of umpiring drama? The latest was the Stuart Broad edged-but-stood saga, which happened in the evening of day three at Trent Bridge, where he went on to reach 47 not out at stumps.

He essentially hit the ball off the middle of the bat off Ashton Agar, it deflect off Brad Haddin and into Michael Clarke's hands at first slip. The umpire Aleem Dar, for reasons unknown, said not out, and Broad stood his ground. Fury erupted.

It goes without saying that most former England players were on Broad's side, saying he was right to stand and wait for the umpire's decision. Other pundits, and most newspaper writers, felt Broad violated the 'spirit of the game'.

<b>Was right to stand:</b>

Former England player <b>Geoff Boycott</b> said on <i>Test Match Special</i>: "There is no debate, it's quite simple. The Australians I have played with and have watched, with the exception of Adam Gilchrist, believe in standing and it's up to the umpire to give you out – there shouldn't be a moral argument. They should be upset, disappointed and angered by the umpires. If they keep making poor decisions, it's up to the ICC to do something about it."

Former England skipper <b>Sir Ian Botham</b> wrote in the <i>Daily Mirror</i>: "What was all the fuss about? Stuart Broad did absolutely the right thing in standing his ground after that edge. Broad was entitled to stay put, he did not try to influence the umpire in any way, he just stood there and waited for a decision.

"He's got away with one. Good luck to him. If you're going to start banning and taking action against players who don't walk, then Australia wouldn't have a cricket team."

Continuing the trend, another former host skipper, <b>Mike Atherton</b> wrote in the <i>Times</i>: "Broad should not be condemned for his refusal to walk, even though there would not have been many batsmen with the audacity to stand there after such an enormous deflection, certainly none with the kind of puzzlement to suggest he did not know why the Australians were appealing in the first place."

He then pointed out Michael Clarke's similar actions in a previous match, when hitting the ball to short leg and standing: "Later, Clarke was given to apologise on Twitter for standing his ground after not walking for such an obvious edge. It is unlikely that Broad will do the same, although the only difference between the two situations is the outcome.

"Both players knew that they had hit the ball, both stood their ground, and both were initially given not out. One an Englishman, one an Australian, both professional cricketers. For right or wrong, that is the modern game."

<b>Should have walked:</b>

The <i>BBC</i>'s <b>Jonathan Agnew</b> was blunt in his assessment, writing: "Stuart Broad should have walked when he clearly edged Ashton Agar to Michael Clarke at slip. Some batsmen walk, others don't. Broad should have done."

He added of the impact it had on Broad: "You stay, you get away with it. You might have done your team a favour, but you must then deal with the slating that comes with it.

"These sorts of things can scar a player for years to come, change their reputations within the game. Broad's body language afterwards told you all you needed to know – head bowed, shoulders slumped. He knew he had done the wrong thing."

Punditry favourite <b>Michael Holding</b> compared Broad to West Indies keeper Denesh Ramdin, who was banned for claiming a catch in an ODI, saying Broad should be banned too: "What Stuart Broad did amounts to the same thing as Ramdin.

"He knew he had hit the ball. The ICC fined Ramdin and suspended him for 'actions that were contrary to the spirit of the game.' That is not the only thing which is contrary to the spirit of the game. What Stuart Broad did is contrary to the spirit of the game. He played the ball and stayed there."

<b>Colin Bateman</b> in the <i>Daily Express</i> was enraged, writing: "Stuart Broad's decision not to walk when he edged a delivery from teenage spinner Ashton Agar to Australian captain Michael Clarke at slip was simply embarrassing for all England supporters.

"Of course, batsmen try it on. They say Australians invented 'not walking' in the age when cricket was supposedly a gentleman's game and a batsman left the field if he touched a catch behind. Now very few batsmen of any nationality walk for a faint edge.

"But when a batsman almost knocks the cover off the ball, he must surely leave the field, not look sheepishly around as Broad did, like a disgraced child caught with his hand in the sweet jar?"

<b>James Lawton</b> in the <i>Independent</i>, while not condemning the batsman, said Broad's reaction was 'mocking', writing: "Broad doesn't do anything that might be seen as a concession to an opponent and today he stood mute and mocking in the face of Australian claims that he should walk from the crease.

"He was out, completely and demonstrably, and he knew it as well as any of his outraged opponents. He also knew that the Australians had frittered away their DRS chances with some half-baked challenges and he could stand there, defiant and unbowed and unashamed, just as long as he liked.

"Broad's spirit of cricket could be encapsulated easily enough in the classic Aussie phrase, 'Stuff you, mate.'

The <i>Canberra Times</i>' <b>Greg Baum</b> said the line crossed was in who had taken the catch, writing: Cricket's code of unwritten ethics is a quirky document, and nowhere is it more perverse than in its attitude to walking. But in that ageless debate, the line is drawn at catches to the wicketkeeper.

"A catch to slip is out, and out, and out, and a batsman who does not accept that is a prat, and yes, acts against the spirit of the game. I know that will cue a long chorus of "what about him?, and him?, and him?", as if an accumulation of wrongs in time becomes a right."

<b>Martin Samuel</b> in the <i>Daily Mail</i> pulled no punches, writing: "Of course, he should have walked. Turned on his heel and headed back to the pavilion, not a backward glance, not a second thought. The professionals, sad to say, are almost universally in denial on this. The apologists, with their mitigations and excuses, miss the point.

"It does not make a man a fiercer competitor if he plays to the bitter letter of the law. It is not always up to the umpire to make the call. There is such a thing as basic, common decency. Being a good sport, being a straight up guy. Golfers, snooker players, call penalties on themselves. Why not cricketers?"

<b>On the fence:</b>

<b>Paul Hayward</b> in the <i>Telegraph</i> was on the fence and against Broad at the same time, writing: "If there was ever a true Spirit of Cricket, it took the day off at Trent Bridge when Stuart Broad blatantly nicked a delivery to first slip but chose not to walk…

"An absorbing moral ping-pong match ensued. What if it had been the thinnest of edges