Brendon McCollum: Steve Smith will live to regret sacking Ben Stokes…missed opportunity to strike a blow to the spirit of cricket
- Steve Smith will look back and regret sacking Ben Stokes on Saturday
- But at the moment, Captain Smith is too early to appreciate that
- Smith missed the opportunity to make a statement about how his team played
- always win Importantbut some things are too valuable to spoil
It may be too early in Steve Smith’s career as captain to appreciate this, but one day he will look back on the dismissal of Ben Stokes at Lord’s on Saturday and realize he missed a great opportunity to strike a blow at the spirit of cricket.
We’ve all done things on the field that we later regret. I know I definitely have. But it was disappointing that Smith had the opportunity to make a statement about how he wanted his team to play the game and chose to go the other way.
Don’t get me wrong: winning is important. But the longer you play this game, the more you realize that some things are just too valuable to spoil.
Brendon McCollum believes Steve Smith will one day look back on sacking Ben Stokes at Lord’s
McCollum believes it was disappointing that Smith had a chance to make a statement about the way his team played
According to McCollum, Smith showed his immaturity by not withdrawing his appeal during Saturday’s game
Australia captain Smith and England player Eoin Morgan argue over the sacking of Stokes at Lord’s on Saturday
By not withdrawing the appeal, Smith demonstrated his immaturity. May live to regret it.
I say that from experience, not because I want to have Smith’s pop. There was a Test match where Mutya Muralitharan ran out while celebrating his partner Kumar Sangakkara’s hundreds. I would do it differently now.
But I wonder how Michael Clarke would have handled the situation had he still been in power. I’m sure he would have withdrawn the appeal. I’m also sure Eoin Morgan would have, too.
For the current New Zealand national team, I think neither of us would have made an appeal in the first place.
I am not trying to make us holier than you. I just know how much we discussed how we wanted to play. Something would have told us that the appeal to obstruct the field in those circumstances was not valid.
Who else has been in violation of Law 37?
Len Hutton of England is the only man to get off a ‘field obstruction’ in a Test, at The Oval against South Africa in 1951. Stokes is the first England player to be awarded in this way in an ODI and the sixth ever, joining FOUR Pakistanis:
Ramiz Raja (Pak) against England in Karachi on November 20, 1987.
Mohinder Amarnath (India) vs Sri Lanka, Ahmedabad, October 22, 1989.
Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) vs India, Peshawar, February 6, 2006.
Mohamed Hafeez (PAC) vs South Africa, Durban, March 21, 2013.
Anwar Ali (Pak) vs South Africa, Port Elizabeth, November 27, 2013.
My immediate reaction when I saw the class was that Stokes was trying to protect himself. Slow-motion replays become irrelevant, because it was a split-second decision to take off his glove.
The fact that the ball hit the flesh of the hand does not look good. But if he’s good enough to stop the ball from a few yards away with his head turned, he’s playing a different game than the rest of us!
I found it strange that two of the experienced on-field umpires felt the need to go upstairs to their TV colleague, especially after they indicated that they thought Stokes wasn’t out. The protocol will need to be considered.
But in a sense, none of this matters. More important is the way cricket is played. And I felt Smith got it wrong.
The key for England now is not to get too emotional about the whole thing. I remember an incident at The Oval in 2008, when we were furious at being run out by Grant Elliott, who was knocked to the floor by Ryan Sidebottom.
Australia looks on as Morgan (C) and Smith exchange words with referee Kumar Dharmasena on Saturday
Ben Stokes vents his rage after being given a tackle after Mitchell Stark throws the ball into the wicket
We obviously felt an injustice done, but looking back we didn’t bathe ourselves in glory the way we celebrated on the balcony after winning the game off the last ball.
Our feelings have improved for us and it is now up to Morgan to make sure England progress and focus on Tuesday’s game in Manchester.
As for Australia, they may look back one day and ask themselves if it was really worth it. I can’t believe it was.