Cricket is an enduring game, which few who are not from Cricketing nations understand, and many in that category are in awe of especially a game that can last 5 days and not end in a result!! There is something called the Spirit of the game and it was something my Grandfather, who used to drag me to the Gopalan Trophy matches at the Oval (as the P Sara stadium was called then and the only real grounds for a classy cricket match in those days) as a kid, and sat for hours watching the slow action of batsman bowlers and fielders in white flannels, and meltonian white spiked boots, insisted was unique, graceful, and gentlemanly!
It is with this past, that the context of the phrase “Its not Cricket” entering the English language to mean unsportsmanlike behavior or bad form, is meant to highlight the ethics and conduct of the game, when compared with other sports.
It is in this light that the accusation of the British Press, and particularly its current cricketers, is just galling. They appear to be indulging in one law for them, and another for others! In my opinion, the English who introduced the game to their Colonies, suddenly found themselves outsmarted in the game they introduced.
I don’t know if it was a blot on their patriotism, or their frustration, that they chose to react to this, not by improving the game themselves, but by sheer aggression and the nasty way they play the game. I was at a British Public School, and there was NONE of what was to follow in my day, but when the game of Cricket became a means to an end, and Sports took the direction of a means to fame and fortune, and NOT just recreational and camaraderie, that the need to win at all costs, took over and intimidation of players of the opposing camp became par of the course.
To me that was the day when the Spirit of the Game disappeared forever. Sri Lanka was always at the butt end, and many will remember how intimidating the Australians became and the use of threats and abuse on field, were meant to wear down the psychological and mental frame of mind of the opponents, us!
It was apparent therefore that at the One day international at Lords, when Sri Lanka analyzed the number of twos that the England side took, it was clearly abusing the advantage of being outside of the crease to get a head start to the other end when a ball is bowled. That clearly WAS calculating, and it was England that had completely broken that spirit and HAD to be stopped. I am glad this issue has been brought back into the fore, so that a loophole of abuse could be prevented. It was England that created the abuse, and it was Sri Lanka that attempted to stop it!