September 21, 2020
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The Fingers Wag

The Fingers Wag

While we were —and remain —fully supportive and appreciative of Mahender Singh Dhoni's decision to withdraw the appeal against Ian Bell and allow him to bat again despite knowing that he was fairly given out as per the laws of the game, it is interesting to see the hard-nosed edits from some of the newspapers.

The Indian Express:

That was, simply, the easy way out. Nothing in the laws required it; and only a desire to appear the nice guy, at the risk of diluting the keen competitive edge of the moment, would appear to underlie the decision.

The Telegraph:

It was illogical and almost everyone concerned was in the wrong...By allowing this, everyone, including the umpires, broke the law which says a batsman can be recalled only while he is still within the playing arena. It is difficult to comprehend what spirit was being upheld. Mr Bell and his teammates should realize that they are playing in a Test match and being naïve has no place in such a professional space. The Indian team can bask in the false glory of having done something noble when in reality they perpetrated something that is best described as stupid.

The Pioneer:

There was nothing ‘unsporting’ about the Indian team’s appeal: The bails were knocked off when Bell was out of the crease and our boys rightly appealed for a run-out. The decision to declare him gone was that of the umpire. So, where was the need for such generosity? ... The misplaced concern for gentlemanly conduct takes away from the Indian side the aggression that is needed to swing games in its favour. This has happened before in other sports as well. There is nothing wrong in being brutal on the field so long as one is a gentleman off it. Indian sportspersons need to understand that.

As for op-eds and columns, Kunal Pradhan in the Mumbai Mirror has a good summary of the two camps among the commentariat, and we also once again provide the updated chosen tweets of the controversy as it unfolded (see the full report along with a listing of similar incidents from the past here).

Please tell us what you think and do add links to other editorials in the comments section

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