Lots to talk about this week: first, the West Indies crowds turn on the game after a questionable umpiring decision, and then, Paul Collingwood turns on the game itself. We’ll cover the first later, because it involves some very complex questions about cricket’s dramatic structure and the role of the audience.
The Collingwood scandal, however, is a bit more simple. Take a video, and the accompanying reactions, for yourself:
Nasser Hussain and his co-commentator are hilariously dramatic and somewhat two-faced: Hussain rightly notes that this moment is hugely costly for the game, while all the while enjoying the added attention the game — and Sky Sports — will receive as a result of the controversy.
And speak of two-faced: watch as Collingwood and company generously walk over to Elliot, making sure that he is not, you know, seriously injured, only to turn around and then refuse to withdraw the appeal. That moment might seem duplicitous, and perhaps it is, but it’s no different I think from the the accepted cricketing convention of bowling 100+ mph balls at another man’s head, all accepted in the spirit of the game even if a few people get hurt in the process.
But this game runs on a fine balance of spirit and antagonism. And here, England should have held back: the batsman was down on the ground thanks to one of its bowlers, who was clearly prancing around where no bowler belongs (that is, the pitch). Even if that weren’t enough, there’s just the gut reaction that everyone — Elliot, the crowd, Ryan Sidebottom himself — feels after the incident. When it comes to decency, lads, your stomach will lead the way.