There can be no guilty without proof. Similarly what the former England captain had to say was not considered worthy of his stature, particularly as he dragged India’s V.V.S. Laxman into the controversy involving Vaseline and Hot Spot. So, did England try the stunt to know they could beat Hot Spot?
While England and the Trent Bridge crowd were willing to label India cheats being unaware of the cricket laws that technically had Ian Bell run out which Bell himself admitted later on, there were several skirmishes and not always on the cricket field. While Nasser Hussain and Ravi Shastri were locked in a war of words during their commentary during the third day of the second Test of the India England series at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, another former Indian captain was rubbing the Indian contingent the wrong way.
Michael Vaughan tweeted that he thought V.V.S. Laxman may have rubbed Vaseline on his bat which is why the Hot Spot failed to detect any edge. The tweet was expected to create a rage, a contention that some of the former Indian cricketers claim was precisely Vaughan’s intention. And it did.
Instead of checking the veracity of Vaughan’s claims which were really unwarranted, the cricket world was appalled that such comments would come from someone with the authority and respect to make such derogatory comments about a fellow cricketers of such repute. To suggest that Laxman was guilty of using Vaseline to beat the Hot Spot is not only appalling, coming from where it does, but also, puts the spirit in which the game is played in a bad light.
Vaughan’s idea of a joke is being interpreted by some as another way of former cricketers getting into the media fraternity to try and undermine the opposition team, something that is done rather blatantly in Australia amongst the Australian media. But for one of the former England captains to get involved in this kind of slander only belittles his own reputation.
Members of the Indian cricket team have failed to see the humour in Vaughan’s tweets while some of the former Indian cricketers are suggesting that perhaps Vaughan could be hauled up in court by Laxman. Vaughan though seems unrepentant of the stunt, instead calling for a sense of humour.
While Vaughan make try to make light of the issue, the cricket world is not only appalled at who he directed the comment but also, that until now, it was not seriously contemplated as to how the Hot Spot could be manipulated since there is still debate about the inclusion of Hot Spot in the Umpire Decision Review System. That there is even the suggestion that something like Vaseline could cheat Hot Spot is now being interpreted as the work of Vaughan himself or someone from the England cricket who may have tried the trick themselves. That Stuart Broad has got himself embroiled in this mayhem by suggesting that he checked Laxman’s bat is going to be a whole new chapter to the controversy. Will England regret what is being interpreted as an inadvertent disclosure.