First and foremost I am a football fan, I love lots of sports but it’s instilled upon me to be a football fan, so I am used to seeing all sorts of players using gamesmanship to gain an advantage over the opposition. It could be making the most of a challenge, wasting time near the end of a match or claiming a corner or throw in when you know it went out off you.
I am also, and disappointingly, used to players outright cheating, it isn’t uncommon to switch on a live match, or highlights and see somebody pretending they have been hurt when tackled, or worst still, making out that they have been punched or kicked to try and get their opponent sent off.
But last night I saw something even worse than that, Philip Hughes fielding at short leg claiming a catch off Cook when he knew it had bounced first. This might seem like nothing to the eyes of a non-cricket fan but cricket is a different sport to football. In fact cricket is different to almost any sport in the world because in some respects the umpires are there just for decisions the players can’t make, but for everything else the players do the work for them.
It is the done thing that a batsman walks before being given out if he knows he hit it, same if a fielder knows he caught it, the umpire would simply ask the fielder if he did indeed catch it, if he said yes you take him at his word and the batsman is out.
That is what makes Hughes’ claim even worse, if you see a replay of it, he knows straight away he hasn’t caught it but is almost convinced by his team mates that he did, Cook stands his ground forcing the umpires to deliberate and check with the video umpire who, along with everyone at the ground and everyone watching around the world, see the ball bounce before going into Hughes’ hands.
Hopefully this isn’t the end of cricket as we know it, but there surely should be repercussions for Hughes, just because he is a dreadful cricketer doesn’t give him the right to cheat. But that is exactly what he attempted yesterday.
Phil, it’s just not cricket.
Marcus J Mitchell.