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Not so gentlemanly: When bowlers 'crossed the line' to deny centuries to cricketers

Crossing the line is more than just a no-ball
Crossing the line is more than just a no-ball
Kushagra Agarwal

"Ball-tampering, verbal abuse and on-field confrontations are threatening the spirit of cricket and recent poor behavior by players has to stop," International Cricket Council (ICC) boss David Richardson said in the recent MCC’s Colin Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s- the Mecca of Cricket.

That the sport and it's administrators are vociferously opposing such demeaning on-field activities is reason enough to believe that the game of cricket is fighting hard battles to repair it's tarnished image.

In what could thus be termed as testing times for the reputation of the gentleman's game, there crops up another incident of unsportsmanlike behavior on the cricket field. This time the news of such unacceptable conduct comes from Bristol in UK, just 193 kilometers from the very Home of cricket- Lord's.

This, however, is not the first instance of such appalling behavior on the part of cricketers. Let us have a look at three instances when bowlers took it upon themselves to contradict the essence of the gentleman's sport.


#3 Minehead Cricket Club v Purnell Cricket Club

Jay Darrell was denied a maiden century in a local club cricket match
Jay Darrell was denied a maiden century in a local club cricket match

In a Somerset Cricket League club match played on the August 4, 2018, Jay Darrell of Minehead Second XI was denied a century when an unnamed bowler from the Purnell Cricket Club sent down a delivery that went way above the batsmen's shoulder, pitching just before the boundary line to end up being a no-ball four.

As a result, Darrell, who was batting on 98*, with his team needing just 2 runs to win, could not complete a well deserved maiden century as the no-ball boundary ended the match in his team's favor.

The incident though, has garnered major publicity as was evident by tweets from celebrities and cricket experts who condemned the bowler's mindless behavior.

Purnell Cricket Club, the club which that bowler represents, has come out in the open to apologize for it's member's misconduct and also gone on to ban him for the next nine matches, accepting that the event was not in the spirit of the game.

#2 Kieron Pollard vs Evin Lewis in CPL 2017

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It is not just local cricketers who have shown such negligence in sportsmanship. In a Carribean Premier League match between Barbados Tridents and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots played on September 4, 2017, West Indian cricketer Keiron Pollard showcased a lack of integrity when he denied his compatriot Evin Lewis of a well deserved T20 century.

Chasing a paltry 129 set by Pollard's Tridents, Lewis made a mockery of the total as he took his team to 128-0 in just seven overs. With one run required for victory, and Lewis batting on 97* off 31 balls, Pollard decided to do the unthinkable as he deliberately overstepped.

Although Lewis' team won the match convincingly by ten wickets, he was robbed off an opportunity to score what would have been the second fastest T20 century.

Lucky to get away from the incident without any penalization, the hard hitting all-rounder did receive huge criticism for his cowardly act from the cricketing world.

#1 Suraj Randiv vs Virender Sehwag (2010)

Dilshan and Randiv were penalized for denying Sehwag a century
Dilshan and Randiv were penalized for denying Sehwag a century

In an ODI match contested by India and Sri Lanka in Dambulla on August 16, 2010, India convincingly sailed past their opponents within just 35 overs, Indian opener Virender Sehwag proving to be the wrecker-in-chief.

However, the taste of victory was soured by an ungraceful act by Sri Lankan off-spinner Suraj Randiv. With India needing just one run for victory, Sehwag was on strike, batting on 99*. Randiv decided to overstep, bowling a huge no-ball, leaving Sehwag, who hit the ball for a six, stranded on 99.

The cool guy that Sehwag is, he did not make a fuss about the issue although he did not refrain from saying that the act was a deliberate attempt from the Lankans.

In the internal probe ordered into the matter, it was concluded that Tillakaratne Dilshan, standing at cover point, had advised Randiv to bowl an illegal delivery to deny Sehwag three figures.

Match fee for both Dilshan and Randiv got forfeited besides the latter facing a one match ban.

Edited by Abhinav Munshi

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