England should look in the mirror before whingeing about the ‘spirit of the game’ over Lord’s drama
Is this a gee up? Or, as our dear Pomeranian friends would put it, do they have a coward?
The more the English get their underpants in a collective knot over Bairstowgate, the more I can’t believe they’re serious.
Do they really think Australian keeper Alex Carey’s dismissal of his counterpart Jonny Bairstow on the final day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s was an act of bastardy, or are they simply trying to divert attention from that appalling display of bad behavior ? in the Long Hall?
Either way, they’re as far off the mark as Steve Harmison was at the Gabba with the first pitch of England’s woeful 2006-07 Ashes campaign.
Even the most drenched MCC members have crawled out from under their hangovers long enough to feel more than a little embarrassed about their shameful behavior at the beginning of the lunch hour.
Jonny Bairstow (centre) was controversially sacked on the morning of Day 5 at Lord’s
Alex Carey tapped the ball against the stumps after Bairstow ran down the wicket to talk to Ben Stokes at the end of the over and run the England batsman out
How painful it must be for those involved that the world now knows that the only thing that sets them apart from the biggest buffoon in the outside world is an egg and bacon blazer.
Just as they must now realize that Carey’s action was fully justified under the Laws of the Game, as laid down by their own Marylebone Cricket Club.
Not that the laws on that side of the world seem to get much attention, as the issue is quickly shrouded in a thick London fog of moral outrage.
Everyone from UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak down below is much more akin to invoking the sacred spirit of cricket, the ‘spirit of the game’ than keeping calm and moving on.
Its yes, the spirit of the game, that amorphous indefinable concept that English cricketers are quick to refer to when it suits them and trample even quicker when a win is on the line.
Current captain Ben Stokes says he wouldn’t want to claim victory if his wicket-keeper had to throw down the stumps of a lazy opponent who strayed from his fold as Carey did.
His predecessor Douglas Jardine was not so prudish. He was quite willing to let his fast bowlers crack some Australian heads to secure the 1932-33 Ashes.
Come to think of it, I don’t remember Stokes telling him to rest the chin music when badly injured Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon stumbled to the crease at Lords late on day four.
Australian players were confronted by MCC members as they walked through the Long Room
The MCC has launched an investigation into the incident and has suspended three members
Although Stokes certainly disagreed with the view of another former England captain, Kevin Pietersen, who suggested in commentary that Lyon had really only been sent there in the hope that he would catch one between the eyes and that Australia still could catch a spinner under the eyes. concussion rule.
Who actually thinks up stuff like that? In fact, after the death of Lyon’s friend and teammate Phillip Hughes in 2016, who’s to say? The type of man who sends opponents texts during a Test series criticizing his own captain and coach, I think.
Stokes is no stranger to controversial sackings against Australia at Lord’s, by the way. He was handed out in a one-day international in 2015 when he blatantly deflected a ball towards the stumps with his hand while attempting to run.
In the spirit of the game Ben?
And while we’re going down the hypocrisy route, what about England bowler Stuart Broad and coach Brendon McCullum who, along with Messrs Sunak and Stokes, have been most outspoken about Australia’s atrocious behaviour?
Broad argued with Aussie captain Pat Cummins and batsman Usman Khawaja over their perceived lack of sportsmanship on the field and in the Long Room as they waited to return after lunch.
He also made it a point to inquire in an openly theatrical manner with the Australian field if he was allowed to leave his crease at the end of each over if he was batting.
The home crowd loved it, but I have to say watching it on TV in Australia got a bit tiresome. As my dear late mother would have said, “Okay Stuart, it was funny once. You made your point.’
England captain Ben Stokes (left) said he would not want to claim victory in such controversial circumstances, but his Australian counterpart Pat Cummins (right) was unrepentant
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed that Bairstow’s resignation was not in the spirit of the game
Kevin Pietersen was criticized for his comments about Nathan Lyon on Day 4
Lyon came out bravely despite struggling with a torn calf and took 13 balls
This is the same Stuart Broad, it should be noted, who admitted that he stole an Ashton Agar delivery but didn’t run after not being handed out during the first Test of the 2013 Ashes at Trent Bridge.
He refused to apologise, saying many other players did the same and moreover England needed more runs to win.
You gotta love that spirit of the game.
Which brings us to Mr Bazball himself, Brendon McCullum, saying he doesn’t want to have a beer with the Australians after the horrific way Carey sacked Bairstow.
Now I’m sure it’s a gee-up. McCullum made an art form in his former life as a New Zealand wicket-keeper by knocking down batsmen’s stumps under the most suspicious of circumstances.
Notable was his dismissal of England’s Paul Collingwood during a Champions Trophy match in 2009. It was so similar to the Bairstow incident that Alex Carey could have used it as a blueprint.
On that occasion, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori – now a member of the Australian coaching staff – recalled Collingwood, but there was no reprieve for Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan during a test in 2006.
An excited Stuart Broad (left) had a heated argument in the middle with Carey (right)
Broad (right) famously refused to run after pecking in the opening test of the 2013 Ashes
McCullum knocked down Muralitharan’s stumps as he walked onto the field to congratulate his teammate Kumar Sangakkara who had just hit a single to celebrate his century.
And this is the man who wants to lecture Australians about sportsmanship.
If he wasn’t a Kiwi, he’d almost be a Pom. If you want to see a good example of that good old famous English ghost of cricket in action, grab a tape of the ODI against New Zealand at The Oval in 2008.
Chasing 245, the Kiwis were well on target and Grant Elliott hit well. With seven overs to go and 30 runs needed, Elliott fired for a quick single as England bowler Ryan Sidebottom headed for the ball.
The two collided and both hit the deck. As Elliott, clearly hurt, climbed to his feet and tried to drag himself to the crease, Kevin Pietersen got the ball and threw down the stumps.
Brendon McCullum said he didn’t want to have a beer with the Aussies after Lord’a
England captain Paul Collingwood – unlike Pat Cummins – was asked by the umpires if he wished to withdraw the appeal. Not really. The appeal stood and Elliott was handed out.
Which brings us back to Bairstow who, unsurprisingly, has been tight-lipped about the whole sad affair at Lord’s.
He should too. After all, let’s not forget he was the one shy by the stumps when Marnus Labuschagne strayed from his fold – and missed – in Australia’s first innings.
That doesn’t make him a more morally focused wicket-keeper than Carey. Just a less accurate one.