Thursday, November 15, 2012 is a day Jonathan Trott will remember for a long time, albeit for all the wrong reasons. At any rate, it is not likely that he will get to forget about it in a hurry because images of a chance -- courtesy Virat Kohli -- put down would haunt him in the papers. But then, cricketers don’t read papers, do they?
Kohli only managed a pedestrian 19 so Trott is unlikely to grab too much attention for putting down a fairly straightforward catch at slip. It is because the manner in which he let it slip captured a plethora of moral and ethical dilemmas and also because of his attempt to resolve them.
Kohli edged to Trott at slip a short-pitched delivery turning in sharply. It probably wouldn’t have been a catch worth capturing for the sports section, but as it happened, the ball slipped through his fingers. Valiantly, Trott turned behind in a split second and attempted to grab the red cherry as it died down towards the grass. However, he failed to do so and the ball slipped under his body and rolled on to the ground.
It was at this juncture that Trott faced a dilemma Hamlet would have empathised with. To be or not to be….whether he ought to be the ultimate team man or the ultimate sportsman. Trott was evidently still battling to resolve this Shakespearan moment as he got up to face the umpire. He found a third way, or the ‘new way’, if you will, and shrugged, as if to say he didn’t really know.
Had the now retired Simon Taufel been officiating at square-leg, perhaps he may have turned down the appeal anyway. But there was to be no such respite for Trott as the ‘catch’ was referred to the third umpire and the giant TV screen projected in splendid detail just how hard it was for Trott to know if he had indeed caught it.
Maybe I am complicating it too much. Maybe Trott’s confusion was altogether more mundane; maybe he thought they were playing box-type cricket where a catch can be completed on the first bounce. England have, after all, put in a lot of hard work to acclimatize themselves to Indian conditions and such perhaps are the after-effects of over-acclimatization!
Sarcasm aside, it beggars belief that a player may not know that he could not claim this as a catch. Perhaps, if Trott had been knocked down by (hypothetically) a speeding Shane Bond outswinger and held on to the ball off the ricochet, it would be fair to suggest he didn’t really know if he had taken it cleanly. But on this occasion, frankly, Trott had taken nothing at all to appeal about.
Was it a misguided, and ultimately, foolish attempt to get away with a joke of a ‘catch’? Or did embarrassment at flooring an easy chance get in the way of acknowledging he had dropped it? In either event, it was time ill-spent on a ridiculous referral that could have been directed at shoring up the abysmal over rates we see these days.
Oh, but England did complete 90 overs for the day. Which is perhaps why Trott thought there could no be great harm done in appealing, other than, possibly, to his reputation. In the name of Trott, let’s raise a toast to the spirit of cricket. Never knew this is what it smells like.
(Madan Mohan is a 27-year-old chartered accountant from Mumbai. The writing bug bit him when he was 8 and to date, he has not been cured of it. He loves music, cricket, tennis and cinema and writing on cricket is like the icing on the cake. He also writes a blog if he is not feeling too lazy at http://rothrocks.wordpress.com/)