Professor Gary Becker, a Nobel Laureate and an Economist at the University of Chicago pioneered and posited a simple model highlighting the primary drivers behind the trait of ‘dishonesty’. Imaginatively termed the Simple Model Of Rational Crime – ‘SMORC’ for short, this relatively straightforward model of dishonesty postulates that prior to indulging in any behaviour or act that would in the normal course of things be termed morally inappropriate, the perpetrator of the act initially assesses the situation contemplating a cost benefit analysis surrounding his/her intended act. This exercise is a simple evaluation of weighing the probable negative implications against the potential positive outcomes. If the positive outcome outweighs the negative effects, the deed is executed.
Now I am not privy to the bibliographic preferences of the talented Stuart Broad. But going by the sheer nonchalance with which he stood his firm ground, after clearly edging an Ashton Agar delivery into the waiting hands of Michael Clarke at slip, I suppose I might be accorded an allowance for arriving at an educated presumption that Broad has all the i’s crossed and t’s dotted when it comes to the SMORC Model.
Merely going by the collective chagrin of a tempestuous bunch of cricketers from Down Under (who by the way are no decorated saints themselves), or by the tumultuous debates on social media swirling around unabatedly, Broad can and should neither be castigated nor commended. However it would be worth the effort to don the mantle of Stuart Broad and engage in a bit of unbiased and impartial analysis (albeit hypothetical) of the pros and cons attached to the thinking behind his incredulous act of audacity that set tongues wagging, eyebrows raising and emotions festering. So here goes:
- The Umpire did NOT declare him out. A batsman is entitled to stand his ground/wait until the proverbial dreaded finger points skywards. If Aleem Dar felt that Broad was in, then Broad might as well stay entrenched, forget about the cannonball sound that rendered Snicko redundant, not give a fig about the ultra slow motion replays obviating hot spot, care a jot about Clarke and his bunch behaving like a horde of cats on a hot tin roof, and get down to focussing upon the next delivery;
- The match situation takes precedence over moralistic foibles. England was in a state of bother with the gritty and classy Ian Bell being deserted by one batsman after another. It was imperative that Broad hang on in there and grit it out with his sedate and set partner. On a pitch displaying signs of variable bounce, every run scored would prove to be as valuable as a fleck of gold dust;
- Sport is a great leveller second only to the inevitability of mortality. In other words – Jonathan Trott + Ashton Agar = Stuart Broad. To reinforce this belief further one would be tempted to throw in an unfortunate Joe Root as well into the simple equation;
- Never before has a batsman been penalised for having stood his ground in spite of being clearly aware of the fact that his rightful place lay in the dressing room. Yes, even though there is a first time for everything, if Broad were to be penalised, then retrospective damnation ought to be foisted upon a plethora of cricketers. Michael Clarke, AB Devilliers and a now retired Ricky Ponting would make an inauspicious beginning;
- Memory fade and disinterest constitute the prerogative of every human being. The burning embers stoked by the fire of discontentment would eventually die down and would invariably be replaced by more defining and telling events;
- Broad was at last beginning to find some fluid batting form. He had reached or was close to reaching his highest score since the one he had clocked 19 Tests ago against India. One silly controversy ought not to nip a blossoming knock in its bud.
- The devastating possibility of familial infamy. The son of a Match Referee cannot possibly be expected to nick one straight to first slip and then walk down the middle of the pitch to have an intense discussion with the non-striker (even though the umpire had ruled him ‘Not-Out’);
- Moralistic element and the ‘Spirit of the Game’ – elaborated at Points 2 and 4 in the ‘POSITIVES’ above;
- The prospect of being not only penalised but also suspended for a blatant display of unethical conduct. Broad is a vital cog in the English bowling wheel and his omission in a couple of matches in ‘The Series’ against the Old Enemy would more likely than not severely affect England’s chances or retaining the hallowed Urn;
- A torrent of public backlash. The consequences of not walking after clearly nicking one would obviously be not one bit pleasant. The public uproar, dissent and dissonance might resonate for a long time and prove to possess debilitating effects on both the mindset and consequently the form/career of Broad (not to mention anything about a tour to Australia)
It is evident that upon an analysis of the cost benefit analysis, Stuart Broad remaining at the crease would have been more beneficial to both England and Broad himself, albeit at the cost of the Aussie fortunes. And that is what exactly Stuart Broad did – Batted on!
In so far as my personal opinion is concerned, I would definitely prefer batsmen who walk over those who wait for their demise to be confirmed by an Umpire. The proliferation of technology has added immensely to the pressure faced by the Umpires in making decisions. The more the application of sophisticated technology, more the resulting controversies. Cricket is a simple, beautiful, uncomplicated and pristine game. And it is for the players to ensure that it remains that way.
I would any day prefer a G.R.Vishwanath, an Amla, Gilchrist, or a Bairstow to say a Ponting, De Villiers, Clarke or the latest entrant to the staying club – Stuart Broad.
But then again, this is just a personal opinion – (Broad)ly speaking.