Out and out luck
'Dozy' Bell lucky to be let-off by India, say Sky Sports pundits
Last Updated: 03/08/11 5:40pm
Ian Bell was branded both "dozy" and lucky by the Sky Sports cricket team after the bizarre run-out episode at Trent Bridge.
The England number three was given out after leaving his crease to walk off for tea, thinking he had just hit a four to take his score to 137 and that the ball was dead.
As Bell headed towards the other end, Praveen Kumar hurled the ball in from the boundary - he had stopped it hitting the rope - and Abhinav Mukund took off the bails, effectively running him out.
After sending the decision for referral the umpires gave Bell out and the umpires and India players walked off to a chorus of boos as confusion rained at the end of the afternoon session.
During the tea interval England coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss, approached their Indian counterparts, Duncan Fletcher and MS Dhoni, who in turn withdrew their appeal, allowing Bell to return to the crease for the evening session.
He eventually went on to add 22 more runs to his score before being dismissed for 159, but the Sky Sports commentary team felt the initial decision should have stood and he should not have been allowed to resume his innings.
Michael Atherton labelled him dozy, Michael Holding believes the spirit of the game should have come second to the actual laws, while Sanjay Manjrekar believes Dhoni and his team were guilty of being too kind.
Nasser Hussain believes the decision would not have been made had it not been the final ball of the session, while Shane Warne felt the right decision was eventually made. Sir Ian Botham though, was adamant: naive, dozy, or not, Bell was out.
Here's what our team had to say...
You have got to be careful when you start talking about the spirit of cricket and the spirit of the game. There are certain things that I think the spirit of the game go beyond and supersede the laws. We all know when a spinner is bowling to you, you pat the ball down, pick it up and throw it to the closest fielder or give it back to the bowler, but the laws of the game say you are out if they appeal. But in the spirit of the game, no-one appeals for anything like that. A batsmen and a bowler might collide when they are running for a run; the spirit of the game and of course, the spirit of cricket, you should not appeal. What happened today, as far as I'm concerned, Ian Bell should have been watching the rest of the innings from the dressing room. Ian Bell automatically decided he was the umpire: he thought and decided that's four runs, the session is over, I'm heading for my cup of tea. He has no right. The umpire decides what is four runs, the umpire decides when the session is over.
I think the important issue was the time; if there'd not been tea and we'd gone straight to the next delivery, I would not have reconsidered my decision. Not only are you in charge of the spirit of the game, but the laws of the game - you have to know them, you have to teach the youngsters don't leave the crease when the ball is alive. Bad luck Ian Bell, you made a mistake and this game is about not making mistakes. If they'd gone from one ball to the next ball that would have not happened. I'm 100 per cent certain I would've said 'bad luck, off you go'; I'd have taken the boos and the raps, but I don't care about that. But having been given little bit of time, hearing the boos of the crowd, seeing the team sat around feeling a little bit uncomfortable, the Tendulkars and the Dravids saying 'skip this doesn't feel right', I might well have reconsidered. They'd have to have had some seriously good chat though, because in my opinion, if you make a mistake in this game... bad luck. You're out.
The appeal was withdrawn when a couple of members of the opposition approached the captain. I think that is a very important aspect. This wasn't a withdrawal of an appeal of his own accord, when he felt like it was the right thing to do. The opposition approached the Indian team and that sets of a whole lot of issues. When Harbhajan Singh was out, the England players knew there had been a big inside edge and before the next ball they could've withdrawn their appeal. I think reaction will be divided. I have to take a poll from the Indian media and a lot of people who have come here and it's a 50-50 situation. A lot of people have liked it. This is a high-profile tour for India, they are the world's number one team and there is a feeling they have to set the right example, so there are a lot of people backing Doni for what he did. And there are also others that feel India did nothing wrong and were just being a bit too kind.
From my own viewpoint, I thought it just looked uncomfortable - and MS Dhoni must've felt uncomfortable. We've had plenty of e-mails in saying he's a true gent, but we are going to be absolutely polarised by opinion. Speaking as an umpire they did exactly right, but from a personal view it just didn't look right. I'll tell you something else, Suresh Raina thinks it's four because he's picked the helmets up and he's started walking off. I've been around for a long time and I've never seen it before. And I've just come up with one word: uncomfortable. I'm a compassionate man and what I would say to Sanjay is: there's nothing wrong with being a little kind!
Sir Ian Botham
I wouldn't have changed my mind (in Dhoni's position). The spirit of the game, which keeps getting thrown in, and these ICC and ECB pieces of paper which just have no relevance at all, as far as I'm concerned. The point is, where is the spirit of the game? The same player, Ian Bell, Sydney: little inside edge, given out, he refers the decision after having a chat with the batsman at the other end. Well, if you know you've not hit it, you refer straight away. He had a chat said 'it's only a little one, I might have got away with it'; he gets away with it and goes on and gets a hundred. Is that in the spirit of the game? My attitude is it was the right decision by the umpires, they did everything spot-on, the man at short leg was screaming at the fielder to get the ball in because Bell had wandered off. It was just one of those parts of your learning curve. But it he was out and should've stayed as being out, in my opinion.
It's for the umpires to call dead ball, or over, or time for the session - that is their job. As Michael Holding rightly said, Ian Bell took it upon himself to call four and time for the end of the season. I agree with Sanjay, there's not much difference really in seeing the second wicket of Stuart Broad's hat-trick, which was seen by all on the big screen to be a massive edge. All the England players saw that, so what is the difference? If you take it upon yourself to make the decisions, what is the difference? I don't think India did anything wrong and in this instance the spirit of the game has subverted the laws of the game. But e-mails and press releases coming from the ECB and the ICC? They've got to stop jumping on bandwagons and get on with sorting out the serious issues. This really was an issue for the laws of the game and not the spirit of the game.
As everyone has said so far, if there was a next delivery straight away, I don't think we'd have had the same outcome. I think the lucky thing is everyone had 20 minutes to work out what to do; what is the politically correct thing to do, what is the spirit of the game. You have time to sit around and talk and I like what Mikey said - and Nasser's was a really good point. If a team feel, after they all chat, and they all say 'skip, I just don't feel right, something's not right' and you sit around and talk about the political angles, the PR of the game, etc etc and they all don't feel right about that, then I think the right decision was made. If you look back now, the outcome was probably the right outcome.