Gillespie defends Smith over Stokes dismissal

Melbourne, Sep 8 (IANS) Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie has defended captain Steve Smith, saying that he was right to appeal for Ben Stoke’s controversial dismissal during the second One-Day International (ODI) against England at Lords last Saturday.

Stokes had played an attempted drive off Australian pacer Mitchell Starc in the 26th over, but only succeeded in hitting the ball back to the bowler.

Starc made an attempt to hit the stumps and Stokes stuck his hand out as a reaction to avoid getting hit, but was given out for obstructing the field . England later lost the game by 64 runs.

“Stokes, for me, was out by the letter of the law,” Gillespie wrote in his column for the Guardian on Monday.

Stokes was initially ruled not out by on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Tim Robinson, but their decision was later overruled by third umpire Joel Wilson.

Wilson’s decision has been criticised by England fans, but Gillespie asserted that he was right in ruling Stokes out.

“Like me, he (Wilson) believed Stokes’s arm had no right to be where it was and therefore he was obstructing the field.

“I don’t think this was immaturity from Smith, as some have claimed. If he was a wise old pro at 36 or starting out as captain at 26, as he is now, I fancy he would have had the same conviction in sticking to the appeal,” the 40-year-old stated.

“In doing so, Smith believed himself to be going with the decision of the officials and therefore operating within the spirit.”

After the match, England skipper Eoin Morgan had said if the incident would have been the other way round then he would not have appealed.

Gillespie however, accused Morgan of violating the spirit of the game.

“You could, for example, argue that the England one-day captain, Eoin Morgan, was contravening it by questioning the decision of the officials and the integrity of his opponent at Lord’s on Saturday evening,” he wrote.

“So let’s end the debate by getting some wording down that is more tangible on the actual spirit than the jargon we have at present. We need more detail in the wording or it will continue to come down to interpretation.”

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