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The walking debate: should club cricketers walk if they edge it?

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Should club cricketers walk if they edge it? It’s one of the oldest running debates in club cricket.

On the latest Wisden Club Cricket Podcast in association with Natwest, Phil Walker, the editor-in-chief of Wisden Cricket Monthly, and Yas Rana, the regular host of the podcast, debated that very question from the perspective of a club batsman and a club bowler respectively.

Here’s how that conversation panned out:

Phil Walker: While in professional cricket I don’t have an issue with players not walking, I have a lot more of an issue with it in club cricket when you are putting reluctant umpires under an obscene amount of pressure and if you know that you’ve nicked it, you’ve got to walk.

Yas Rana: I’m of the opposite view, partly based off my own experiences. As a bowler, there have been so many times where I think I’ve got a wicket where a batsman’s nicked and they’ve not walked. So when I bat – I’ve actually never had a situation where I’ve nicked it and not been given out by the umpire immediately  – I wouldn’t walk if I nicked it because I know how many wickets I’ve missed out on myself. I think it’s fine not to walk.

PW: The truth of it is that it’s a more nuanced issue. Just me saying ‘you’ve got to walk’ it is a bit more complex than that and I appreciate that. I remember that there was a piece written in a magazine I was once involved with by Nick Campion, who is a good cricket writer and is well involved with the game, he’s a big club cricketer and he advocated the banning of walking, removing the responsibility, the moral dilemma that people face whether to walk or not to walk.

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He actually advocated, trying to make for a more harmonious game, the prevention of walking as an option for a batsman. His argument was that it only creates aggro between the teams and fractures the conviviality of club cricket. I thought that was quite an interesting idea.

YR: One thing DRS has shown in international cricket is that players genuinely don’t know if they’ve nicked it or not. You see people call for reviews for lbws when they’ve hit it caught behind decisions when there’s been an edge. It’s not as simple as saying that if the bowler hears a noise with the bat a long way from the body, that the batsman must know he’s hit it. The batsman might not know that he’s hit. It’s not always a moral question.

Brought to you in association with NatWest, Wisden’s Club Cricket Partner, supporting cricket at all levels for almost 40 years and a proud partner of the ECB and Chance to Shine. NatWest CricketForce helps local cricket clubs to make more from their money through free online advice and toolkits.

Follow @NatWest_Cricket and #NoBoundaries on Twitter to find out more

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