STUART BROAD spoke last week for the first time about the incident in the Trent Bridge Test when he refused to walk after edging Australia spinner Ashton Agar to Michael Clarke at slip.
Broad stood his ground after umpire Aleem Dar inexplicably failed to spot the edge, the ball going on to flick wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s gloves before nestling in the hands of the Australia captain.
Broad, 37 at the time, went on to score another 28 in a match England won by 14 runs.
In retrospect, the incident turned not only the game but the series, with Australia unable to recover from the body-blow of losing such a close fixture.
For what it’s worth, my view of the incident was this: I thought it was embarrassing and completely ruined the match.
After that, I no longer cared whether England won and took no pleasure when they ultimately did so.
Australia, in my opinion, were cheated out of victory.
As the furore died down in subsequent weeks, and as England went on to clinch the Ashes ahead of this week’s final Test, I had nevertheless been prepared to cut Broad some slack.
Although I still considered what he did entirely wrong, and against that mythical term “the spirit of cricket”, I was prepared to accept that maybe, as a relatively young man playing in the pressurised atmosphere of an Ashes series, he had made an instinctive decision that he most probably regretted.
All of us, at some time or other, have done things in the heat of the moment that we wish we had not. Human beings are prone to human error.
However, when Broad addressed the media last week, it soon became clear he was completely unrepentant.
In fact, he delighted in his belief that England are “an unpleasant team to play against at the minute”.
The Nottinghamshire pace bowler proudly added they have a “win-at-all-costs mentality”.
“Yes, I knew I’d hit it,” admitted Broad. “But if you go through the series and look at the Australian players who have nicked it and not walked, you could name several – Warner, Rogers, Khawaja, Smith, Clarke, Agar.
“I mean, it’s quite a lot of players for it to be a big issue. Why are people picking on me? Well, it’s the way our media works, I suppose.”
Actually, it is not the way that the media works. In fact, there has been far from a chorus of condemnation at Broad’s behaviour.
Many commentators (ie ex-players) have said Broad did nothing wrong and that such decisions should be left to umpires.
Although no batsman walks for a faint edge any more, there is surely a line when you cream the cover off the ball, a point where “win-at-all-costs” does not prevent you from having a responsibility to the integrity of the game and to the many people watching, including children.
Broad added: “One thing about this England team is we are tough. We come through tricky times and we stand up and want to be counted. It is quite an un-English thing that this team has got; we want that to continue.
“There is no doubt the country is proud of this team and what we have achieved because fans like winning teams.”
Well, I for one am not proud of this team. In fact, I agree with Darren Lehmann that Broad is a “blatant cheat”.
I did not rejoice when Broad’s six wickets at Durham clinched the Ashes. If other people did, that’s fine by me.
Broad said something else about the walking affair. “Those sorts of things are not remembered. It is winning the series that will be remembered.”
In 10 years’ time, people may remember that Broad clinched the Ashes with six wickets at Durham, but I bet more will remember that he did not walk at Trent Bridge.