We Need to Talk: Ross Taylor and the second most offensive c-word in cricket

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Friday, 9 November 2018, 12:15PM

So much fuss and bother about Ross Taylor and what he did or didn't mean with that inflammatory hand-flicking gesture in the first ODI against Pakistan.

Yesterday I even heard some cock-eyed theory (yes, it was you D'Arcy Waldegrave) about how he wasn't predicting another illegal Mohammad Harfeez action but was in fact warning Tom Latham of an imminent doozra.

There is one thing worse in cricket than being called a "chucker"- and no I don't mean that other word too often associated with the sport these days also beginning with "ch", details on that to come.

Delicate wee flowers they are these bowlers, can a man ever get more upset than to be accused of having an illegal arm action?

Honestly, take the guy's first-born child, insult his dear dying mother, tell him he dances like his dad - but whatever you do, never ever point out that he throws that particular delivery.

"Chucking" remains the most sensitive area of the sport and, like most contentious things presented for investigation to the world administrative body, something the ICC seem both toothless and reluctant to do anything meaningful about.

Of course as soon as it's a player from a country outside the sub-continent pointing the finger it 'must' involve undertones of racism. I look forward to some respectful experienced journalist raising that sidebar with Ross Taylor as much as I do seeing Harfeez next time pretend to straighten his arm.

Make no mistake the guy biffs the ball. This is proven. He's been banned four times overall, and three times in the last four years - the most recent suspension in October last year. Ordered once again to remodel his action, he was only cleared to play this April.

Yes, it's an awkward subject and one I'm sure no one feels comfortable raising but if anyone has a right to do so, surely it's the bloke up the other end facing? Because if not him, then who?

Umpires, following the Darryl Hair v Murali drama of decades ago, are still reluctant - and 
for good reason. Calling out the bowler remains the most obvious shoot-the-messenger-scenario existing in international sport.

And this is Ross Taylor's problem. Not what he did, but that he did it at all.

Now Pakistan's management and captain can flap and yell and moan as much as they might.

"Disgraceful" is how Sarfaz labelled Taylor's gesture. No word on whether the guy had a valid point or not, just irate that he'd dared choose to make one at all.

So while we wait for cricket's latest festering boil to be lanced, perhaps Harfeez can take solace from the fact there are far worse insults in cricket than to be called a "chucker".

I mean, at least he wasn't called "Australian".