8 May 2007

Surely Sri Lanka can't think they have a case?

Can the Sri Lankan's really be suggesting there is a problem with Gilchrist's use of a squash ball in his batting glove in the World Cup final? Surely, they can't...can they?

It appears they can. It could have been hoped that Tom Moody's presence in the Sri Lankan camp might have brought about some sensible thinking, but unfortunately things don't appear that way judging from reports.

What exactly is Gilchrist guilty of? He has been quoted as saying "I had a squash ball in my bottom hand to help with my grip in training and I decided in this World Cup to use it in a match."

He clearly doesn't think there's anything wrong with using a squash ball in his glove or he wouldn't have said this publicly, and Cricket Burble agrees entirely. After all, had he asked a glove manufacturer to produce a glove with an inlay of squash ball material, they would undoubtedly have done so, and surely even Sri Lanka wouldn't have considered that unethical? As it was, things were made tougher for him as he had a loose squash ball in his glove.

But Sri Lanka do seem to be more than a little peeved about Gilchrist's admission. Sri Lankan cricket secretary Kangadaram Mathivanan has let reporters know his opinion on the matter. "We are of the opinion that it was unethical for Gilchrist to use a squash ball to give unfair advantage." He went on to say that Sri Lanka could even call on the ICC's cricket committee to enforce stringent application of law 42 on fair and unfair play to ensure that only approved protection equipment was used.

According to The Goan paper, Herald, the "revelation" made by Gilchrist caused uproar in Sri Lanka and many letters have been sent to Sri Lankan newspapers from members of the public "accusing the Australians of resorting to unfair tactics to win the game". The reaction of both the public and the administrators continues to go over the top in situations where even the most biased person must see that there is no reason for complaint. Before the 2003 rugby World Cup England Manager Clive Woodward asked Nike to produce a tight fitting shirt for the England team, which Nike did, but did the teams that weren't supplied by Nike complain? Of course not, they knew they could have done the same, and perhaps kicked themselves that they hadn't.

As always when something is done legally to advance sporting performance, there is a sense of jealousy from others that they didn't think of this tactic themselves. And the change will no doubt mark an improvement in the grips used on the inside of batting gloves, which all countries will be able to take advantage of because whether it made any difference to Gilchrist's performance is immaterial - the perception is that it did. Please Sri Lanka, you had a great World Cup, don't make yourselves look stupid by pursuing any line other than to congratulate Gilchrist and Australia on their win.

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