Ashes fever

It’s no secret to my nearest and dearest that I live a sordid life of secret addiction and with the first Ashes Test now complete, my cricketing dependence is only likely to grow greater in the weeks to come.

But what a belter to kick things off: Agar’s 98, Bell’s magnificent century, a record breaking run chase narrowly thwarted by Jimmy Anderson’s genius. How can the rest of the series possibly live up to the drama and tension of this first dig?

I’ve no idea, but no wonder that chap once bit through his umbrella while he was watching. I may have to order a fresh supply.

Naturally there’s no end of talking points, especially over Broad’s refusal to fall on his sword and walk when he’d swished one to slip.

The problem is an inherent tension between the ‘spirit of cricket’ and the laws of the game. Which takes precedence? Spirit or Law?

While it’s vital to try and preserve the character, traditions and unique appeal of cricket, at international level virtually no-one else walks. Players play strictly by the laws out there, which are written down in black and white, not the well meaning but slightly more nebulous concept of ‘spirit’.

It may embarrassing because Broad gave such an obvious edge, but you can’t blame him for standing. The Aussies, with Gilchrist’s notable exception never walked and probably never will and it’d weird to have two different standards apply.

Broad’s was an obvious one, but what if a player walked because he thought he’d heard a snick, when he hadn’t?

In the end it’s far better to just let the umpire decide.

Luck, fortune, chance, they also play a part in the game too, it’s what makes it so fascinating, and you have to accept the bad decisions as well as the good ones.

For the record, I always used to walk …when the umpire put his finger up.

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