Why Darren Sammy Should Be Punished: Catches Win Fines

Rhys HaywardContributor IApril 4, 2009

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA - MARCH 20: Darren Sammy of The West Indies Makes an appeal for the wicket of Ravi Bopara during the First One Day International match between The West Indies and England at The Providence Cricket Stadium on March 20, 2009 in Georgetown, Guyana.  (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

Darren Sammy should be reprimanded for his behaviour in yesterday’s fifth and deciding one day international. Such blatant cheating shows not only disrespect for the much vaunted and often cited "spirit of cricket," but also paints a poor picture of the player and of West Indian cricket as a whole.

Catches, particularly those low to the ground, have proved particularly difficult and contentious for the game since the adoption of technology. It is the one aspect of the game where the use of replays and other technological advancements have failed to improve the decision making process.

Balls which have been cleanly and fairly taken often appear to have grazed the surface and, as a consequence, as soon as an umpire chooses to take a decision on a low catch upstairs, the third umpire, quite rightly, decides that there is sufficient element of doubt to side with the batsmen.

Sammy’s "catch," in St Lucia was of course different to those in that the ball clearly hit the ground, but it relates to the previous point in that the umpires and batsman, in this case Kevin Pietersen, trusted that Sammy was being entirely honest in his claim to have caught the ball.

This of course should be the case. If a fieldsman knows that he has cleanly caught the ball then batsmen should accept the decision, and in an ideal world this would be the case.

However, with the prospect of a reprieve for the batsmen, a bonus wicket for the fieldsman, or the option to delegate the decision for the umpire, each has an ulterior motive.

In the aforementioned cricketing utopia, if a fielder takes the catch, then his word should be taken as gospel. If he doesn’t know if he has taken the catch legitimately, then he can ask the umpire to consult the technology and, if this is the case, then the benefit of the doubt should be with the fielder and not the batsmen.

Only if the ball has clearly bounced should the batter be allowed to survive. Should a situation such as yesterday’s arise, then a retrospective fine or preferably a ban for players like Sammy should ensure that the players obey.

Of course, in Utopia, batsmen also walk for edges and Glen McGrath developed sudden mental block at the very sight of an English batsmen. ‘Tis a wonderful place.