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Stewart and team-mates caught out by cameras

By Robert Philip

21 March 1998

ALEC STEWART and all those around him in the area of the slips who kept mum when Shivnarine Chanderpaul was given out to a catch which television showed was patently not a catch, are cheats.

Any argument over whether Chanderpaul would have gone on to amass a potentially match-winning score in the fifth Test was rendered irrelevant when rain washed out the last day leaving an important question unanswered.

Was it acceptable, in these win-at-all-cost times, for Stewart, his captain and his team-mates to snigger quietly to themselves while the noble Chanderpaul, accepting the umpire's erroneous decision after staging the merest silent protest by standing his ground, began his dignified walk to the Kensington Oval pavilion? The ball hit the ground before Stewart made his so-called catch and everyone knows it.

Perhaps Matthew Engel, the wise and multi-talented editor of Wisden, could ensure justice is belatedly seen to be done by making a minor adjustment to the official West Indies first-innings scoreboard:

S Chanderpaul c Stewart (only he wasn't) b Fraser 45

England may have lost a measure of respect in Barbados by Stewart's actions, but they might have found their next captain in Mark Ramprakash, whose first innings knock of 154 was an intoxicating Caribbean cocktail of sumptuous shot-making and inspirational defiance.

Sadly, some have already begun sneering at the notion of a man whose father was born in Guyana of Indian descent captaining England; the same Rule Britannia Fundamentalists who supported the 'Norman Tebbit Loyalty Clause'.

If it ever comes to a national referendum between the gallant Ramprakash and the perfidious Stewart when Michael Atherton eventually abdicates as captain, I know which one I would choose.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 21 Mar1998 - 11:40