When given out LBW it may be best to realise that changes need to be made.
There are varied interpretations of the Leg Before Wicket rule. While it is one of many contentious rules in sport, the heartache and malcontent it brings has not been solved by technology.
For a batter to be given out LBW the following has to occur. The ball blocked by the batter from hitting one or more stumps has to have pitched from outside the off-stump, but not outside leg stump. This same ball has to have been a legal delivery. One where the ball was bowled and not thrown. Also some of the front foot of the bowler has to have been behind the line in front of the stumps at the bowling end.
But wait, there's more. Another consideration is the variation of delivery and the effect this has on the ball. A cricket ball can seam, swing and spin. This depends on the bowler and the conditions of the wicket. Bounce is also a factor that originates from the ability of the bowler and the hardness of the pitch. All of this has yet to consider the position of the batter on the wicket. The batter could be further or closer to the wickets the ball has been stopped from hitting.
So, when Steven Smith was adjudged LBW by the ball tracking technology when he was a very, very, long way from the wickets, there was some uproar about this. The defence of the ball tracking technology came quickly from those in charge. However this technology is similar to one developed for a different sport, Tennis.
In Tennis the 'hawkeye” technology uses cameras to show where the tennis ball landed on the court. It has been tested and found to be accurate in this task. To track a ball as it travels on a tennis court is one thing. To extrapolate the trajectory of a cricket ball after it has been stopped by the legs of a batter is a complete other.
It is the difference between an actual happening and a predicted outcome. This requires complex mathematical calculations and the data required for the analysis of this is considerable. For tennis the issue is whether the technology can match the path of the ball to the boundaries of the court. In cricket it has to predict what would have happened. Courts are standard, balls are standard, the trajectory has occurred. Wickets are not standard, balls are handmade. The only thing closer to this is predicting the weather.
This is a very hard law to adjudicate compared to other rules. Holding the ball in Australian Rules football is much easier. All the umpire has to decide on is whether the player has had enough time to have disposed of the ball prior to getting tackled. For most football supporters the umpires decision is always three seconds too long for opposition players. What follows is the traditional call of “BALL!!!” by the crowd to remind the umpires of this.
Like Aussie Rules in Soccer the offside rule has its variants depending on the opposition. But a simple rhyme reveals the truth behind the mystery. Behind or in line while the ball is being played. If the attacking player is behind or in line with the last defender while the ball is being passed, then the player is not offside. FIFA has yet to agree with the intervention of technology as it would slow down pay. Er...um….play. It would slow down play.
When it comes to how to live as a Christian there is a very simple rule of thumb. No technology required. Love God. Love your neighbour as yourself. I believe the following line goes “on this hang all the Law and the Prophets.” ? For those who knew the many thousands of laws this leapt over such a statement required definition. Who is my Neighbour? The example Jesus gave was the parable of The Good Samaritan.
The sporting analogue to who a Samaritan was would be Carlton and Collingwood, Rangers and Celtic, David Warner and the South African team. Ok, perhaps not like that. But the animosity was traditional and to associate with Samaritans would be unthinkable.
Jesus in his ministry goes even further than considering the Samaritan as a neighbour but to offer the gift of eternal life to them, and to us. To the Samaritan woman at the well Jesus offers living water. A draught that is not just for her but for any who believe.
Laws are complex and require interpretation. People train very hard to learn and apply them. But they are human and not divine. Tempers get tested and frustration can breed more than just words. When playing the game we need to remember who our neighbour is. Like them we too are tested by the law and too often found wanting. When we find ourselves correctly adjudged there is nothing to do but accept it and try to change for the next time.
Phillip Hall was planning to go for a Mankad dismissal on a certain player if he made his divisions grand final. He did not make the grand final match. Phillip considers this a blessing because of the now realised heartache and malcontent it would have caused.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.