The age-old dispute about whether batsmen should walk seems certain to smoulder throughout the Ashes series. While the players of both England and Australia appear relaxed about the issue it continued to dominate social networking sites on Monday.
The latest debate has been fuelled by Stuart Broad’s decision not to walk after being caught at slip in England’s second innings at Trent Bridge. Broad, on 37, went on to make 65, a difference of 28 which proved vital in a pulsating contest England won by 14 runs. The decision of the umpire Aleem Dar to give Broad not out was not reviewed by Australia because they had already used their two permitted referrals.
Andy Flower, England’s head coach, supported his player yesterday. “When I played cricket I didn’t walk if I’d edged it, so I’d be a hypocrite to say that all other players should walk,” he said. “Most players leave it to the umpires to make the decision and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
When Flower was playing for Zimbabwe he was involved in a heated incident during a match with England 12 years ago. On 99, the England wicketkeeper James Foster went up for a catch but the appeal was turned down. Foster and Flower were involved in an ugly exchange of words.
That was a one-day international in Harare, not the heat of an Ashes battle. Broad has been attracting singular criticism, although both Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin declined to walk in Australia’s second innings. Clarke asked for his decision to be reviewed after being given out, a decision which was upheld, and Haddin, on what was the last ball of the match, was sent on his way only when technology proved that he had inside edged the ball.
Darren Lehmann, Australia’s coach, perhaps encapsulated the view of both teams. “It’s dealt with as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “ The DRS [Decision Review System] has improved the decision-making process. Both sides have the same issues. We’ve got to get better at using it, basically.”