Leaving Nothing Behind

I've found it hard to get too concerned about the story which has been preoccupying the media these last few days, and which has only just been supplanted by the announcement of Andrew Flintoff's retirement from Test cricket.

England were clearly out of order in doing what they did, at least as far as the oft-quoted 'spirit of the game' is concerned (although, significantly, neither umpire appeared to say anything), and it's hardly surprising that Ponting told Bilal Shafayat where to go when he arrived in the middle on Sunday night. But his comments once the match had ended and the dust had settled were, in reality, relatively moderate, and it took the good old British press to turn a disagreement into a controversy.

Neither side can reasonably claim any moral high ground. England did what they did and Australia - as Nathan Hauritz admitted - would have done the same if they'd needed to. Anyone who has had the misfortune to read Duncan Fletcher's autobiography knows that he is never ever wrong about anything (at least in his own mind), but, when he starts sticking his oar in, you tend to feel that it's time to move on.

Which bring us to Flintoff, who, for once, has shown some timing and good sense in taking a decision which has come to seem inevitable as his Test career has blundered on in fits and starts over the past few years.

The valedictions can be saved for later; in the meantime, let's hope he makes it through the last four five-day games of his life.

One thing is certain: He won't be leaving anything behind in the dressing room.


Rob said...

I listened to the whole thing on TMS and hardly a comment was made about the delays -- which makes me believe they have been overhyped.

Brian Carpenter said...

Precisely the point I was making, Rob. If it had been that bad the umpires would have done something (well, maybe). Mostly press hype.

For most of the papers cricket these days just means 'The Ashes', with the result that they've got more column inches to fill then they'd ever have during another series.

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