Sutherland backs Gilly in walking debate - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sutherland backs Gilly in walking debate

By Adam Cooper 23/11/2004 06:28:45 PM Comments (0)

Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist did not deserve to be at the centre of cricket's walking debate, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said.

Sutherland contacted Gilchrist to offer his support after the walking wicketkeeper had a heated exchange with New Zealand batsman Craig McMillan on the last day of the first Test in Brisbane when the Kiwi refused to budge despite getting a nick.

Later New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming questioned whether Australia was on a crusade to have all players walk, but Sutherland said the matter had been "blown out of proportion".

"The banter that happens on the field in respect to umpiring decisions between players is something that's always happened and I think people have tried to draw a link between that walking issue and that banter in a way that's not necessarily appropriate," he said.

"In terms of drawing Adam into it, I think that's unfortunate and unfair on him.

"I have actually exchanged text messages with him but I haven't spoken to him directly. I just made a point to him in respect to the matter that I believe - that's something between me and him.

"But in terms of the issue, I think it's a little bit unfair on him the way he's been drawn into it. He makes a choice on the way he wants to deal with the situation when he's batting and he should be free to make that decision just as someone should be free to make the decision that they don't walk."

On contentious catches, Sutherland said although Australia had agreed to accept the fielder's word during the tour of Sri Lanka in March, Ricky Ponting's team could not impose such a protocol on New Zealand.

"I completely understand Stephen Fleming's position," Sutherland said.

"He's obviously consulted with his players and they've come to the view that not all of them are comfortable with going that way."

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