SC wonders if it is still a gentleman's game

Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Amidst the exchange of 'legal bouncers' between Zee TV and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over the telecast rights row, the Supreme Court today wondered whether cricket was still a gentleman's game.

This question was posed by a five-judge constitution Bench headed by Justice N Santosh Hegde, who is a keen follower of cricket.

Justice Hegde had kept wickets for the Judges' team when it had played against Bar XI, and as part of another Bench, is adjudicating the dispute between Ten Sports and Doordarshan over the telecast of India-Pakistan cricket series.

Appearing for Zee TV, Harish Salve gave an example of the large heartedness of earlier day cricketers and described how Windies bowler Charlie Griffith had donated blood for Indian player Nari Contractor after he was taken to hospital on being hit by a bouncer bowled by him.

Justice Hegde asked if the game was still played in the same spirit and pointed out to a recent incident in which Windies captain Brian Lara was felled by a Shoaib Akhtar bouncer.

Saying that Akhtar had immediately apologised, he maintained that the game was still being played in the same spirit and cited another example where West Indian bowler Courtney Walsh could have taken his country to victory by running out the last batsman for Pakistan at the bowler's end but instead warned him not to take a start before he bowled.

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