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Walking the walk

Should players walk or should technology take over from spirit of the game?

Ponting: Stood against Pakistan

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has admitted he knew he had nicked the ball against Pakistan but refused to walk, an admission which adds further fuel to the row about the advent of technology erasing some of the sportsmanship out of the game.

With TV reviews now involved in decisions, fewer and fewer players are now walking when finding an edge, and instead waiting for the umpire to make a decision or more worryingly chancing their arm that replays cannot detect the contact.

In Ponting's case, he has taken all of the guessing out of the situation by admitting that he felt the edge off Mohammad Hafeez to Kamran Akmal during Australia's defeat to Pakistan, when he was given not out by standing umpire Marias Erasmus.

An infuriated Pakistan called for a review and it was overturned and Ponting was given out, which he knew was the right decision all along.

"There were no doubts about the nick, I knew I hit it, but as always I wait for the umpire to give me out. That's the way I've always played the game," Ponting said.


A similarly fiery incident occurred a day earlier when Mahela Jayawardene stood his ground after Nathan McCullum had taken a superb diving catch off his own bowling, but this time a TV review could not give him out.

New Zealand were furious, but in this instance the former Sri Lanka captain insisted he thought the ball had hit the ground and insisted he would have walked if he thought it had carried.

"If I felt it was a clean catch, I would have walked," said Jayawardene. "It was a 50-50 thing and it was fair it went to the TV umpire."

Old school cricketers, by and large, will say that if a fielder claims a catch then you take his word for it, as players such as Jacques Kallis still do today, but now batsmen are much more inclined to make the umpire take the decision or send it upstairs.

That sets some dangerous wheels in motion of distrust amongst fellow players, but now Ponting admitting he knew he was out but hoped to get away with it is a step further and could be construed as similar to diving to try and win a penalty in football - something which has come to be a major irritant in that sport.

New Zealand's Ross Taylor says the decision of 'to walk or not to walk' depends on what type of person you are.


"It depends upon the person. You look at Jacques Kallis. He asks the fielders if they caught it cleanly and he trusts the words of the fielders," said Taylor.

"You put it up to the batsman to make the decision and at the end of the day you just hope the technology is right and if the technology is not right, well then don't use it."

The great Sachin Tendulkar illustrated this point perfectly on Sunday when he walked when edging Ravi Rampaul early in India's game against the West Indies, when TV replay suggested that he may have got away with it had it not been given.

Those who stand will say that with technology it is now very much all down to the umpires to make the decisions, so let them get on with it, but brazenly standing firm when you know you are out is surely not within the spirit of the game cricket is so proud of?

Maybe Pakistan coach Waqar Younis summed up the situation best when he said, after Ponting's actions: "It's nice to see people walking but that doesn't happen now I guess."

What do you think? Should players walk or should they stand their gounrd? Have your say below...

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