0Traditional Spirit of CricketWhere’s the spirit of cricket?

So we’re only x days into the ICC cham­pi­ons trophy and there have been 2 very dis­ap­point­ing incid­ents involving play­ers in the tour­na­ment, one on the pitch and one off.  Whilst crick­et has had issue with gambling related cor­rup­tion (e.g. Han­sie Cronje or the Spot-Fix­ing scan­dal from 2011) the game has a repu­ta­tion for good spir­it and hon­est play between play­ers.  Are these recent events a sign that times are chan­ging, or are they merely an unfor­tu­nate blip?

First up: step forward West Indies wicket keeper Denesh Ramdin

Ram­d­in has been banned for 2 games after cel­eb­rat­ing a catch which he had actu­ally dropped.  Before I say any more about the incid­ent I sug­gest you watch the clip your­self.  I’m still unde­cided about how I feel about the ban.  Whilst there is no doubt Ram­d­in should have told the umpire he had dropped the catch, it appears from the clips that I’ve seen that the team were fully cel­eb­rat­ing, and the umpire had raised the fin­ger, before Ram­d­in gets to his feet and runs to join the team.  Until that point he does­n’t jump or or throw the ball up as is nor­mal to do when claim­ing a wick­et.  If he did­n’t claim the catch, or cel­eb­rate the catch, but just went along with the decision without say­ing any­thing is this any worse than when bats­men fail to walk know­ing full well that they have nicked the ball?  Yes it’s unsport­ing, and yes he should have been hon­est, but I feel a ban would have been more worthy if he had act­ively claimed the wick­et.  On the oth­er hand, my sym­pathy is very lim­ited, and I hope this will send a mes­sage to play­ers about the import­ance of the spir­it of the game.

Incident 2: step forward Australia David Warner

Accord­ing to media reports Dav­id Warner launched an unpro­voked attack on England’s new star Joe Root in the early hours fol­low­ing England’s vic­tory over Aus­tralia in the Cham­pi­ons Trophy group match.  Whilst some have said the Eng­land play­ers should­n’t have been in an Aus­trali­an themed bar, or that they should­n’t have been out at all, I dis­agree.  Crick­eters of oppos­ing teams have his­tor­ic­ally enjoyed a drink with each oth­er after a game has fin­ished and this is a very good thing.  Mutu­al respect and even friend­ship between oppon­ents is some­thing to uphold and cher­ish.  The issue of times is a decision the play­ers and team man­age­ment are entitled to and it is clear from inter­views that Cap­tain Cook was quite happy for the play­ers to have take a rare oppor­tun­ity to let their hair down.  Expect­ing or demand­ing that play­ers nev­er be allowed to have a “night off” is both unreas­on­able and only likely to drive the beha­viour underground.

So, the Eng­land side of thing dealt with lets (briefly) talk about the per­pet­rat­or.  It is now clear that the attack involved a punch and was unpro­voked.  This is totally inap­pro­pri­ate beha­viour and there can be no excuses made.  Whilst it is always bet­ter to be gen­er­ous in judge­ment, at age 26 Warner needs to ensure that this is his last ser­i­ous incid­ent of this sort.  His swift and sin­cere sound­ing apo­logy may just have dug him out of a hole, and his abil­ity on the field means we should be grate­ful that he is still likely to fea­ture in the upcom­ing Ashes series.  The repu­ta­tion of Aus­tralia, and Crick­et as a sport has been dam­aged by his actions and he would be well advised to keep his future ener­gies focused on the pitch.

For both Mr Warner, and any­one else feel­ing any hard feel­ings towards the oppos­i­tion I recom­mend re-watch­ing the end of the second Test from the 2005 Ashes — a moment between Andrew Flintoff and Brett Lee that far bet­ter rep­res­ents the game than some stu­pid drunk­en mis­take in a bar.

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