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.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress among those on 'master list' of massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
News
i100
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor