February 25, 2020
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Look Who Is Cracking The Whip Now!

Both Ganguly tormentors, Chris Broad and Clive Lloyd, hardly went by the book as players

Look Who Is Cracking The Whip Now!
The tale of the discipline enforcers is turning curiouser and curiouser. First there was Clive Lloyd, who handed Saurav Ganguly a two-match ban last November for slow over rate at Eden Gardens. Now, there is Chris Broad.

Both have strictly followed the book. Yet, one cannot shake off the feeling that there may have been a personal element in both verdicts. Broad, going by reports, seems to have taken it to heart that Ganguly did not heed his "warning" after the Jamshedpur penalty, where the captain was fined 70 per cent of match fees for the same offence.

Lloyd was more profuse. "It's obvious that this guy (Ganguly) feels he is above the laws of cricket," he had told Stabroek News, a newspaper in Guyana, after slapping his ban.

One wishes the duo had brought in more of the personal element into its decision-making. Lloyd's fearsome fast bowlers often bowled no more than 11 overs in an hour. Broad, who has become a crusader against the off-spinner's doosra and an unbending upholder of ICC's rules after not-too-successful shots at broadcasting and setting up a printing business, was very different as a player. A left-handed opener, his three centuries were crucial to England's last Ashes victory 18 years ago. But his more vivid images are from Lahore, 1987, when he refused to leave the pitch after being given out caught behind, and Sydney, 1988, when Broad smashed his bat on the stumps after being dismissed by Steve Waugh.

Both are experienced enough to be able to appreciate that extenuating circumstances extend beyond what is written in the rulebook—such as deciding whether or not Sachin Tendulkar should bowl the last over.

Why is the ICC so harsh on slow over rates anyway? Is it because the delays upset television schedules? The fans certainly do not seem to be complaining.

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