All's fair in love and war
The saying "all's fair in love and war" has been applied to many critical situations. And it became signally evident in the Youth World Cup Tournament being enacted in Bangladesh, with West Indies having to resort to such measure in their final qualifying match against Zimbabwe. West Indies struggled to 226 for 9 wickets in their 50 overs, with their last pair having to put on a useful partnership of upwards of 30 runs. In response Zimbabwe, after finding themselves on 168 for 6, paced themselves against much poorly directed bowling by West Indies but eventually lost wickets at further critical stages. The grand finale saw them needing only three runs in the last over of the match. In the excitement the batsman at the bowler's end backed up quite early giving opportunity for the West Indies bowler to effect a run out.
This provided a degree of consternation to most onlookers – the unusual act of a batsman snared by the runout route without the ball being bowled. What does the law stipulate? It says a batsman out of his ground may be runout by the bowler running up to deliver – provided he puts down the stumps prior to entering the delivery stride of his runup. And that's exactly what happened to give West Indies Youth their sensational victory against Zimbabwe last Tuesday.
In 1983 Guyana batted first at Windsor Park against Windward Islands captained by Norbert Phillip. Guyana were dismissed for 162 after an opening partnership of 73 put on by Lyght and Etwarro. In a deadly spell Winston Davis took 6 for 54, Phillip 2 for 33 and Thomas Kentish 1 for 47. In their turn Windwards managed to get to 258, mainly on the strength of a 122 run opening partnership involving Lockhart Sebastien, 88, and Lance John, 56. Phillip later got 30.
With the 96 run deficit, Guyana needed to put on a decent total to enable their spinners Harper and Butts to have something substantial to work with on the final day against Windwards, who had developed notoriety in shaping up to slow bowlers on wearing pitches. Guyana lost wickets at 39, 54 and 116. However, they were buoyed by the entry of Clive Lloyd, the illustrious West Indies captain. Lloyd's stay, though, was brief. St. Vincent's premier offspinner Stan Hinds, bowling at the southern end whipped off a bail to run him out for 1 while he was backing up. It made the score 120 for 4.
Lloyd was appalled at the action by Hinds to run him out summarily without previously offering him a warning. As I recall it, Hinds said he had acted purely within the rules of cricket, and Lloyd had not given any warning he was going to attempt to "steal" runs.
Net result of the match, anyway, was a win for Guyana who, after piling up 334 headlined by Fahoud Bacchus 143, went on to howl out Windwards for 130 of which Cecil (Abu) Elwin topped with 30 as the spinners Harper, 5 for 53, and Butts 2 for 30, had a field day – adding to their first innings haul of 2 for 62 and 5 for 81 respectively. Guyana won by 108 runs and went on to capture the Shell Shield Regional Championship, the premier Caribbean first class trophy.
We may allude to cricket as very much a gentleman's game. Still, in the view of many the laws are weighted very much in favor of batsmen. If you have any doubts ask Shane Shillingford and Sunil Narine. They have been penalized to the point where they are banned from bowling in international matches because their bowling actions contravene Law No. 24 which indicates for a delivery to be fair it must be "bowled" and "not thrown". The Laws even specify that the bowler must, before commencing his first over, indicate to the umpire which arm he will utilize to bowl and from which side of the wicket he will operate. All this in order for the batsman to be duly informed. And if the bowler decides to alter this, he must notify the umpire – otherwise a no ball will be called against him.
This isn't all. The LBW Law, though it is designed to deter batsmen from unfairly padding up to keep the ball from hitting the stumps, a batsman is protected from LBW dismissal under the laws when the ball pitches outside the leg stump – even though such delivery would have continued on target to hit the stumps. Accordingly, the leg spinner is consistently obstructed in his art.
All bowlers may at times feel aggrieved by the rule in limited overs matches restricting the number of overs allocated to individual bowlers. As against this, a batsman may face all of the balls in the quota of his side's innings.
Graphic as the young West Indies win versus Zimbabwe goes down in the annals of cricket, the bowler in question should be complimented for having observed the likelihood of his opponents trying – in fact, endeavoring – to steal a run in order to achieve the signal honour of making it to the elimination phases of the World Cup. Needless to say, the incident sets a trend to be eagerly seized upon as occasion warrants. No doubt, all batsmen so concerned will take due notice and stay within their ground or otherwise stand to be imperiled.
All this cannot serve to exonerate Young West Indies for what looked like very poor batting on their part against Zimbabwe, one of the less fancied units in the tournament. Much too often our batsmen were imprisoned into strokelessness by ordinary bowling. Further to the debit side, we bowled without required consistency. In addition, our fielding lacked much to be desired in much of the elementary skills of the game. Inevitably, weaknesses of this kind are bound to carry over to becoming debilitating symptoms inherent in our senior West Indies teams. Too many of these weaknesses ought to have already been ironed out of our school cricket. More luck to our Youth team in their World Cup episodes. As to the business of gentlemanliness in exercising what our old timers used to call WHITE CHAPELING I may add that Bacchus in the Shell Shield match of 33 years ago was about 40 runs to his score when he provided a stumping chance effected by keeper Ignatius Cadette. Somehow the umpire, my friend the late Thomas Baptiste failed to raise his finger – at which I was sure the batsman was out by as much as a yard. He added another hundred to his score. And he was not considered ungentlemanly.