Papers lambaste Collingwood over run-out decision

England captain Paul Collingwood risked pitching cricket into one of its most serious crises in years over a chaotic one-day run-out against New Zealand, newspapers said on Thursday.

New Zealand, closing in on victory, saw Grant Elliott run out after what appeared an accidental shoulder charge by England quick bowler Ryan Sidebottom, who’d veered off a straight course in an attempt to re-gather the ball.

With Elliott flat out, Ian Bell threw to Kevin Pietersen at the bowler’s end and Elliott was dismissed with New Zealand 220-8 in the 44th over.

Although Collingwood could have withdrawn the appeal, and there is also provision within the laws for the umpires to call dead ball in the event of a serious injury, Elliott was ruled run out.

Afterwards, Collingwood apologised for not withdrawing his appeal. “You have to make a split decision at the time and maybe it was not the correct one,” he told Sky Sports.

“The umpire asked me if I was upholding the decision and I said ‘yes’.

“Obviously the apologies go out to the New Zealand team over the decision—I made a split-second decision on the issue and that was the wrong one.”

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, who shouted some angry words at the England dressing room when the appeal was upheld and again at the conclusion of the match, added: “I think we were a little bit contrite ourselves with the raw emotion, so I apologise to Paul and his team.

“We hope we can move on—- we can appreciate Paul’s words and we want to move on,” said Vettori ahead of Saturday’s finale at Lord’s.

The collision cast a shadow over the Black Caps’ one-wicket win in the fourth one-dayer at the Oval, newspapers said.

“Oh, the folly of Capt Colly!” was the Daily Mail‘s headline. The paper said the incident was the worst involving an England captain since Mike Gatting argued with Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana 21 years ago.

“Paul Collingwood’s reputation may be sullied forever,” it added.

The Guardian compared the incident with the furore involving former captain Michael Atherton over alleged ball-tampering 14 years ago.

Atherton himself wrote in the Times that England lost “a good deal of self-respect” over the incident but praised Collingwood’s “outstanding” honesty and contrition in apologising.

“Cricket became a contact sport here yesterday [Wednesday] as England’s win-at-all-costs attitude saw them beaten off the last ball by New Zealand in a game soured by the run-out of Grant Elliott at a crucial stage,” wrote former England bowler Derek Pringle in the Daily Telegraph.

But Pringle concluded that “justice was eventually served” with New Zealand’s victory, which puts them 2-1 up in the series with one game left to play.

Collingwood was, though, defended by former England captain Nasser Hussain.

“All his life he has trained to be a fighter, a scrapper, a winner and suddenly he had to make a snap decision—spirit of the game or victory?

“He did what he has always trained to do,” Hussain wrote in the Mail, while noting his decision was wrong and praising Collingwood’s subsequent apology.

New Zealand won the match in a dramatic last-ball victory to take an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

With two needed off the final ball, last man Mark Gillespie hit Luke Wright to extra-cover.

But Graeme Swann’s fierce throw to the bowler’s end wasn’t backed up by several England fielders—had he lobbed it in, Gillespie might have been run out by a distance—and this allowed New Zealand the winning second run on the over-throw as they reached their target of 246.—AFP


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