Monthly Archives: August 2012

May I Celebrate?

I’m just past my college days which, I guess, added something good to my brain. There is this final phase of college where students would get recruited into companies, “Campus Recruitment”. I still remember my classmates and friends getting placed into their wonderful companies. Some got into their “dream company”. I had seen that twice, too. It is a happy occasion. They (me too) go through a tough time before that – their track record is scanned through, they sit tests and interviews, get shortlisted and scrutinized and at the end of a long, long day (maybe more), few of them are selected. From the moment the result is announced, it is just about celebration; celebration of success. And there is nobody to stop that, why would anyone want to?

While a majority of the cricket fans don’t like the aspect of bowling, they do know that it is one where the player toils a lot for success. A bowler has to bowl 10 or 15 or 20 overs a day in tests, and probably just the max of 10 in an ODI. There may be millions of plans on how to get a batsman out, but the plan needs the bowler to execute it with the help of precise field placement (maybe a bit of sledging too). The efforts made are for just the one thing – the wicket of the batsman. That is what every bowler wants, and it is no secret.

The moment a bowler bags a wicket, (s)he is all smiles (or expletives) over his success. Emotions flow out. They may be very happy ones, or just relieved ones. Some celebrate it with just a wide grin (Christopher Gayle), while some prefer to jog the length of the stadium (Imran Tahir).

The Airplane celebration, Shoaib Akhtar

It is so beautiful to watch. Those emotions are directly linked to the wicket claimed and the efforts put in to claim it. It won’t come again, even if paid to repeat so.

Just like you don’t like to hear “You got the job” and the next day “Please wait, we will go through your documents and confirm if you did get your job.”, no bowler likes to hear “That looks out, but please wait while we confirm if you were over-stepping.” Or, “Oh, stop celebrating. The decision has been reviewed.”

Bowlers are half-way through their celebration when the umpire asks the batsman to wait, while the umpire goes to the TV umpire to check if the bowler landed his foot right. This is not a one-off occasion where the umpire may have missed out on noticing the foot, but has become a rather frequent issue recently.

There is technology for support, but that has made the umpires very lethargic. If they can’t check the bowlers’ feet and the ball thereafter, I don’t know why they are suited up and standing out there.

There is only muted celebration when the team forms a huddle with the man with drinks when the umpire confirms the fall of the wicket 2 minutes after the event. A couple of hi-5s, encouraging words from the captain and then they move on. That looked more like those businessmen shaking hands and posing for photographs after signing an MoU. No fun, just wide grins.

I understand that it is a different case with DRS, where the batsman would challenge the umpire’s decision that went against him. But, to check for no-balls otherwise when a wicket falls seems ridiculous. Also what is ridiculous- they check ONLY when a wicket falls. Many have noticed multiple times bowlers bowling back-foot no-balls, and the umpires not noticing that at all. And who knows how many boundaries were off a no-ball? Shouldn’t those be checked too? Well, yes. There is a word for why it should be checked – “JOB”.

“S.O.S., 3rd Umpire”

If the umpires are so incompetent, then the day is not far when a batsman would be caught at long on, and then the 11 fielders will appeal to the umpire  (who probably has popcorn in one hand, Reader’s Digest in the other) who would then signal to the 3rd umpire, who would then take 3 minutes to determine whether or not the catch is genuine. Or whether or not he has already read that edition of Reader’s Digest.

Dear umpire, when I bag a wicket, I want to celebrate. Don’t knock on my door.


(image courtesy Yahoo! and Daily Mail)