Couch Talk 89 with Gideon Haigh

gideon-haighIn this episode, Australian writer Gideon Haigh talks about the Decision Review System (DRS) that has been a major talking point in the ongoing Ashes series, the ethics of walking, Australia’s confused approach to this Test series (replacing the coach, surprise debut, omissions etc.) and discusses the ways Big Bash League might be affecting the Australian batsmanship.

You can download the episode by clicking here.


The podcast was first published on ESPN Cricinfo’s The Cordon.

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Intro Music: Aravind Murali and Jaishankar, mixed at ‘Music from The Place’

Guest: Gideon Haigh

Host: Subash Jayaraman

Episode transcribed by: Bharathram Pattabiraman

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One Response to Couch Talk 89 with Gideon Haigh

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey Subhash,

    To start with I’d like to say that I really enjoy your podcasts and this site as well. But the “debate” on walking really peeves me because it is no debate at all. If you walk, then well and good, whether you do it selectively or not. If you don’t, then that is absolutely fine. You are out when the umpire says you are out.

    While everyone has the right to have an opinion on things, it is tedious when people sit in judgement of those who have done no wrong. That is precisely what walking enthusiasts do.

    You say to Gideon – are you not doing wrong by not walking when you know you have hit it? The answer to that is an emphatic NO, because as he clearly explains, you have to go when the umpire raises his finger, whether you have hit it or not. That is the moral ideal that cricket requires you to abide by. Would you be ok with a batsman standing his ground when he is given out but he is sure he has not nicked it? I didn’t think so.

    The moral ideal that walking enthusiasts try and import into cricket is alien to sport itself. All sports have a neutral person who adjudicates decisions that have to be made. This is in the interests of fairness and justice, so that the course and result of a game is not dictated by the whims and interests of individuals or teams. If you are to insist that one must walk when one knows one is out, you must be ready to embrace the corollary – that one can stand one’s ground when one knows one is not – and with it, any chance of a fair game.

    Coming to the particular nature of a batsman’s wicket, the game of cricket is such that it is the fielding team that asks the umpire whether a batsman is out. It is they who assert it. This is why it is cheating when a fielder claims a catch he knows he has grassed – because he is positively asserting that he has taken it cleanly – he is telling a positive lie. A batsman waits for an umpire to make a decision on the fielding sides appeal, and he is always entitled to do so.

    You speak of sport not existing in a vacuum, of life’s norms finding their way into them. Different cultures, in fact different individuals, have different norms,.which is why we have rules and adjudicators to impart fairness. Also, as Gideon points out, it is sport, meant to to be taken lightly, not meant to be a matter of great seriousness. So you are expected to take things in stride, the good decisions and the bad ones, and not sulk or stomp about when things haven’t gone your way. IMHO, a batsman who walks off without protest whenever he is given out is a far better thing than a ‘walker’ who kicks up a fuss when he receives a bad call.

    One may admire the act of walking, whenever it is done. But to equate not-walking anything close to cheating is nonsense. There is no debate about it. There are plenty of cricketing things that are more interesting to talk about. And I am not Australian.

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