During the ODI world cup there has been continuous discussion amongst the commentators about the reaction of the crowds to the 2 Australian cheats. Eoin Morgan didn’t take a position and said he felt it wasn’t up to him to tell the fans what to do or think. Virat Kohli asked supporters not to boo the pair in a positive gesture that perhaps they don’t deserve. Former England players including Graeme Swann have been very negative about the booing, as have many Australian ex-pros. So what is the watching public to do?
We strongly disagree with those who have attacked supporters for booing. Smith and Warner were guilty of cheating, but more than that, they behaved in a way that wouldn’t be acceptable in almost any other walk of life. The anger towards them was about more than a bit of sandpaper. It was about their utter disrespect for the spirit of cricket and the terrible example they were setting to future generations. Warner especially has a long track record including (but not limited to) punching Joe Root in a bar a few years ago, telling Rohit Sharma to “speak English”, squaring up to Rangana Herath, and the infamous abuse directed at Jonathan Trott. He has had far more chances than he deserves. I would prefer not to see him selected to play international cricket any more.
However, one good point has been made about booing. It often fires players up and drives them to play at their best. Warner, for example, has scored plenty of runs in the world cup.
So, we have a proposal. Don’t boo regularly. Don’t do anything at all. By and large, maintain a dignified silence. Send a message that they aren’t welcome but also that they aren’t worth the effort. If every boundary is greeted with deathly silence that sends a much more potent message. Save the boos for a major landmark. Ignore the performance until a century is made and then boo loud and clear.
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