Sunday, 14 July 2013

England hit the final nail in cricket's "spirit of the game" coffin

The first Ashes test showcased the very best of test cricket, a big story was written every day. There were two main issues which have arisen from the match, the first being that DRS failed throughout the match for both teams, the other issue was Stuart Broad's decision not to walk off a blatant error from the umpire. 

My views on the DRS situation can be read here. The issue of Stuart Broad staying at the crease is one which is rather disappointing but yet not very surprising. Over the last few days I have been hearing many things saying that his actions are not in the spirit of the game. 

In my opinion the spirit of the game has been something which has slowly eroded over time and has now seized to exist. The death of this started with Australia. Mark and Steve Waugh were some of the first players to stay at the crease when they knew they were out. Since this time these unwritten rules have slightly changed to you only walk on obvious nicks. What has happened recently is that players such as Broad have decided never to walk. 

Sledging was the next thing to chip away at the spirit of the game. Again the roots of this will probably be traced back to Australia. This is something that all international teams now incorporate. Other obvious things to effect this would be the time where many players were spotted trying to tamper with either the ball or pitch. Match fixing will also get a mention as simply being not cricket, but it all happens and is another area where the spirit of cricket is attacked from. 

England seem to feature as much as Australia in the list of teams breaching the spirit of cricket. Notable incidents would include England captain Paul Collingwood not calling back the New Zealand batsman he knocked down and ran out. I could mention Broad senior (who somehow has been appointed a match referee) knocking down the stumps with the bat in anger after he had been given out. From all of this it is clear that the spirit of cricket is dead, so each team now has a free for all to do what they like as long as there are no rules against it. 

On another note, I would like to highlight quotes taken from Graeme Swann in regards to players not walking when they are clearly out. His quotes came from a warm up match between England and Sri Lanka where Dilruwan Perera decided not to walk where the umpire missed the wicket. Some snippets of his quotes (taken from the guardian website) are: 

  •  "I wanted to kill the batsman because he was cheating"
  • "When people looked at the replays, it would have looked appalling on behalf of the batsman and he would have been shown up"
  • "If you know your out then you walk off the field."
  • "He was out and cheated in my view."
Well Swanny we all live by our words, lets see if you come out in the press this time around and echo the same words. I do not think so, the fact that England won by a margin less than Broad's extra runs makes his un-sporting behaviour acceptable. I believe that anything goes in this series and neither team can now complain about any future decisions in the series. 

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