Morality Plays


By Bernard Whimpress

Flash back. 12 July 2013, third day, first Test of the 2013 Ashes series at Trent Bridge. Stuart Broad controversially stood his ground after umpire Aleem Dar gave him not out for an obvious deflection of an Ashton Agar delivery which was caught by Michael Clarke at first slip. Broad was on 37 at the time of the incident and went to make 65, sharing a partnership of 138 with Ian Bell, and England went on to win the match by 14 runs. The incident incensed the Australians and led to Australian coach Darren Lehmann to accuse Broad of ‘blatant cheating’ during a radio interview six weeks later and call on Australian supporters to abuse Broad later in the year during the 2013-14 Ashes series and ‘give it to him from the word go for the whole summer’. For his intemperance Lehmann was charged and fined 20 per cent of his match fee (about $3000) for a breach of the International Cricket Council code of conduct.

Flash forward. 10 January 2015, fifth day, fourth Test of the 2014-15 series against India at Sydney. India had lost a flurry of wickets after tea and Australia was pressing for victory as Ravi Ashwin defended a ball from Nathan Lyon to Shaun Marsh at silly mid-off. Slow motion television replays clearly show that the ball struck the ground before Marsh scooped it up with his right hand. Perhaps Marsh thought he caught the ball but fellow fielders within a few metres – Joe Burns at short leg, wicket-keeper Brad Haddin, first slip Shane Watson and possibly second slip Steve Smith – could surely have told him he hadn’t. Yet all the Australians went up for a strong appeal. Is it any wonder batsmen are disinclined to walk?


About Bernard Whimpress

Freelance historian (mainly sport) who has just written his 40th book. Will accept writing commissions with reasonable pay. Among his most recent books are George Giffen: A Biography, The Towns: 100 Years of Glory 1919-2018, Joe Darling: Cricketer, Farmer, Politician and Family Man (with Graeme Ryan) and The MCC Official Ashes Treasures (5th edition).


  1. Haddin shook his head to say it was not out.

  2. Dave Brown says

    Yep, Haddin did not appeal, shaking his head, by which point everyone else was facing away from him (at the umpire). It was Haddin’s reaction which gave the umpire confidence in giving it not out (before going to review).

    Why the others with a view appealed is a complete mystery. Perhaps only explicable by the ‘ask for everything and let the umpire decide’ position which, as you point out, is very much the Broad view of the world. Time to get rid of the preamble to the laws of the game – noone pays attention to them.

    The Broad action in that series that stirred me up was when he reviewed a caught behind decision that he knew he had hit, on the off chance that hot spot / mics had not caught the nick. For me that crossed the line where standing your ground does not.

  3. I thought the Aussies handled it pretty well once they saw Haddin shaking his head. Nothing in it.

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