What Cricket’s Line Reveals
Four cricket greats are directly opposed regarding where the game is heading in the middle of Australia’s hostile series in South Africa. The imaginary line that separates conduct that is acceptable and that which is not on the field has become the main focus of the tour. A lot of confusion, and many less-than-average jokes, have sprung up regarding this line, but it can actually be broken down quite simply.
The Gentleman’s Game
If, like David Lloyd and Ian Chappell, you played cricket before the 1980s, you will passionately believe that there is simply no place in the gentleman’s game for robust send-offs and hale and hearty sprayings of the four-letter word. Etiquette in any sport is important, and it seems even more so in cricket.
Chappell told 3AW’s Sportsday that sledging is absolutely not a part of the game, and added that the more permission players were given to talk like that on field, the higher the likelihood of personal insults being exchanged became.
He went on to complain that the situation was dire when the Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, said that it was a part of the game. He demanded that he be shown where in the law book for cricket it said so.
Lloyd stated that he has been part of cricket as a player, umpire, coach, columnist, and senior broadcaster, and he has never witnessed player behaviour, on-field and off, as bad as it currently is. He went on to say that players needed to stop and think about the example they were setting, at how deplorable what they were doing is, and how infantile it all was. He added that he cringed whenever behaviour like what had been happening in the stairwells and on the way to the dressing rooms occurred, and felt that those players should be shown red cards and removed from the game. He finished off by saying that suspension from as many as three games for guilty players would quickly put a stop to what was going on.
Sledging is Part of the Game
If you played cricket after the 1980s, like Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen, you will, just as passionately, believe that taunting the other team is part and parcel of the game of cricket -and will take to Twitter, a thoroughly modern medium, to condemn the ICC’s decision to remove Rabada for the last two matches. The Internet is good for more than just AFL betting tips! Just ask these players.
A Giant Generation Gap
To have four such accomplished players so completely contradictory on an issue speaks to the effects of the generation gap that exists in cricket at the moment.
As long as now-retired figures from the 1970s and before have a voice, and positions of authority, in cricket, the game will keep seeing modern players frustrated with the decisions and arguments they make. But they would all realise something positive if they calmed down for a moment -that this is all actually good news for cricket.
Hot topics, arguments, and discussions are all healthy for sport. It is why the current series has captured the complete attention of the cricket world and beyond, and that is a line everybody can agree on!