Angus Fraser: Denesh Ramdin ban for falsely claiming a catch shows ICC is inconsistent (and favours batsmen)

There was one rule devised that helped a bowler... which was lbw, in 1774

Deep down most players, supporters and followers believe cricket is a sport run by batsmen for batsmen, and this view was only strengthened on Monday when the International Cricket Council’s disciplinary committee decided to ban and fine Denesh Ramdin, the West Indian wicketkeeper, for breaching the ICC’s code of conduct.

Ramdin was wrong to claim he had cleanly taken a catch to dismiss Misbah-ul-Haq during Friday’s Champions Trophy encounter between Pakistan and West Indies, but the ICC has set an extremely dangerous and inconsistent precedent by disciplining him as it has. Ramdin’s crime was to produce “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”, which he probably did.

The incident looked poor and had Ramdin explained to the umpires that he was not 100 per cent sure whether he had taken the catch cleanly then everything would have been OK. The trouble is fielders do not always know whether they have taken a catch cleanly. Believe it or not, cricketers do not always watch the ball right into their hands. Often a catch is taken through an instinctive reaction rather than a conscious movement of the body. On most occasions a fielder will place his or her hands where they believe the ball will go. The good catchers get this right more often than the poor ones.

We had a contentious incident  during this week’s LV=CC match between Middlesex and Sussex when Matt Prior, the England wicketkeeper, was unhappy to be given out caught. Prior was certain the ball touched the ground as the fielder juggled it, the fielder believed he took a clean catch. On this rare occasion the decision went the fielding side’s way.

My beef, however, is not with the fact that Ramdin has been disciplined, although the sentence is extremely harsh, but that the “conduct contrary to the spirit of the game” ruling is not used consistently. I know I am a bitter and twisted old bowler but I cannot work out what the difference is between a fielder claiming a catch that touched grass and a batsman standing his ground to wait for the umpire’s decision when he has knowingly edged the ball through to the wicketkeeper.

In both situations a cricketer is attempting to deceive the umpire and the opposing team. How can it be that one incident is thought to be an offence and the other simply part of the game? It is absolute codswallop.

If there is to be consistency then any batsman given “not out” caught must be banned and fined if he is subsequently found to have touched the ball with his bat. Batsmen, of course, will say the reason they wait for the umpire’s decision is because they were not sure whether they hit it or not. Again, on most occasions, this is absolute codswallop. Technology has shown us that batsmen immediately know when the ball has hit their bat when they are wrongly given out lbw. It is amazing how they can feel some fine edges and not others.

A fielder should also be disciplined if he does not own up to knowingly touching the boundary rope when he has the ball in his hand. Perhaps a bowler should be disciplined for an audacious appeal that is blatantly not out. If these rules were applied the Champions Trophy would quickly end up being a six-a-side competition.

The history of these rulings and law changes has been one-sided – working predominantly in favour of batsmen, and against bowlers and fielders.

You do not need to look too deeply into the history books to see these changes. Bodyline and the great West Indies pace attack led to captains not being able to place fielders where they want and bowlers only being allowed to bowl one short ball per over. Bowlers now have to keep their front foot behind a line – it used to be the back foot – and heaven forbid he knocks the bails off at his end, as Steven Finn occasionally does.

Even now, in the days of technology, commentators compliment the decision of an umpire giving a batsman “not out” lbw when replays show the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps. These utterings still leave me scratching my head. After all, the ball does not have to knock a stump out of the ground to dislodge a bail.

There was one rule devised in 1774 that helped a bowler, which was called “lbw”. In 1795 the first batsman was given out for getting his leg in the way of a ball that would have gone on to hit the stumps. There must have been a lot of wayward bowling during those 21 intervening years.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
football
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot