The match between India and Australia at the SCG has thrown up another piece of puzzle that makes the jigsaw of cricket even harder to complete. With so many different interpretations of the on the field events and a distinct lack of consistency, this game is about as easy for its fans to follow as say American Football.
The game of cricket has for long been based around laws that governed events as if they were black or white. And then the invent something called intent. What is intent? Well something like four shots of tequila since it makes everything seem so blurry. In a game where does intent really come in?
Today when Dussey pushed his hand out to stop the ball, Indians appealed. After long deliberation the Umpires gave him not out. Let me get this right. He was running towards the batsman’s end, he was away from crease, the ball was heading towards the stumps, he might have been in the way of the ball, and he pushed out his hand to stop the ball that might have struck him or gone on to hit the stumps, in which scenario he might have been out. But he is not out. Any why is that? Because that guy sitting in a cubicle away from the center could read Dussey’s mind and find out that Dussey’s intent was not the prevent the run out but to prevent himself from getting struck by the ball. Really?
First of all it is a cricket ball and not a bullet. By this logic it should be okay for batsmen to catch the balls about to thud in to their ribcages, right? Remember the Inzamam Incident? Standing 2 inches outside the crease, he found himself to be in line of a throw from Raina destined for the stumps. He was guaranteed to be smacked hard by the ball. He did something similar, use his bat to stop the ball. Just like today, Indians had appealed. The verdict? Out. Inzy was given out for obstructing the field while Dussey was not out in case of handling the ball. Go figure.
So where is the consistency? A law cannot have multiple interpretations surely. If Inzy was out then surely Dussey was too. If the intent to protect one’s self from harm is an acceptable reason to bypass the laws of cricket then surely fending the ball off your gloves as it zeroes in on your throat cannot be out. Clearly the intent in this is not to score runs but to protect one’s self. So why is that any different?
Remember the bowler only has the intent to pick wickets, the fielder to take catches or affect a run out and the batsman to score runs. It is as simple as that. And our only intent is to enjoy watching these guys go around doing what they intend to do. So can ICC tell us what intent really is?