The question being asked, mainly by the partisan Australian press, after this incident on Day Three of the First Test at Trent Bridge is why Stuart Broad did not walk after he edged the ball to the waiting hands of Michael Clarke.
Did Broad have a moral obligation to walk? Is cricket of all sports a game of gentlemen? What should Broad have done? I think that there's two reasons why Stuart Broad should have absolutely stayed. These are they:
1. The Obligation Of The Batsman Is To His Team.
Maybe once upon a time in the days of amateur sport, there may have been gentlemen which used to play the game but those days are long gone. When you have professional players whose very incomes might turn on the success of the team, to make the decision to walk is in effect short-changing your team mates.
We have seen in some Test Matches turn literally turn on just a few runs. England won the 2005 five-Test Ashes series 2–1 and the Second Test at Edgbaston was decided by only 2 runs. Admittedly Broad did only make 28 runs after the non-dismissal before he was finally removed but had this incident happened in that match, the entire fabric of the series would have changed.
What if the shoe had been on the other foot? Suppose it had been Watson in the centre and not an Englishman? Would the Australian press be calling for Watson to walk? Not a bar of it. The only reason that there is moral indignancy in the press is because they're writing for an audience and to sell copy.
2. The Laws Say So.
Law 3.1 - Appointment and attendance
Before the match, two umpires shall be appointed, one for each end, to control the game as required by the Laws, with absolute impartiality.
Law 42.2 - Fair and unfair play - responsibility of umpires
The umpires shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play.
Cricket is a game which being incredibly convoluted, has 42 laws, whilst Football in comparison has a mere 17. Cricket is pretty well much unfathomable unless taught at birth, so unless someone non-partisan is in charge of the game, the game could so very easily spiral into anarchy; as it is, it is already insanity, we don't need anarchy as well.
Because the match is governed by umpires, the responsibility to execute those laws should solely rest with them, even if they are incompetent. Actually on this note, even the umpire is a total dunderhead, simply because they have been appointed to that position should mean that their decision is final.
With regards Broad's non-dismissal, is umpire Aleem Dar did not give him out, then that should be the end of the matter. Surely if it's the responsibility of the umpires to execute the laws, then it follows that it's also their duty to see offences to the laws and certainly not the players on the pitch - not the batting or the bowling side.
So then, what do I think?
I think that Broad did exactly what he should have. He should have stayed his ground, as indeed he did.