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Players are innocent about the Spirit

The fuss about the Spirit of Cricket being injured by players is amusing. What is overlooked is that they play to win, and are not concerned about what looks nice. Amrit Mathur writes.

cricket Updated: Jul 19, 2009 23:44 IST
Amrit Mathur

The fuss about the Spirit of Cricket being injured by players is amusing. What is overlooked is that they play to win, and are not concerned about what looks nice.

There are plenty of worries to deal with because officials expect players to live up to a Code of Conduct. Besides , players have also to comply with the Spirit of Cricket, which is less clearly articulated.

This so-called spirit embodies the values of cricket and every player from Sachin Tendulkar, the seniormost (debut 1989) to Fawad Alam (debut 2009) is required to give a written undertaking that he will abide by it. This is terrific in theory but a massive joke in reality. It is like expecting Salman Khan to know the provisions of the Wildlife Act.

Players, despite written undertakings about the Code of Conduct and the Spirit of Cricket are innocent of their contents and if their knowledge is tested would flunk the exam. Players simply sign the paper without reading it.

Similar is the fate of the Anti Doping and Anti Racism policy. Most players sign off without having the faintest idea of what the documents are. This is hardly surprising considering players are astonishingly ignorant even about cricket matters.

The D/L calculations remain a complete mystery to most and some are stumped even by current laws related to substitutes/injury and over rates.

Players know what’s ok and what constitutes crossing the line but this is at a very fundamental level. Because of this fractured understanding comic situations arise where Ricky Ponting (not an example of model conduct) accuses others of hurting the Spirit of cricket. Manoj Prabhakar (the master of swing/reverse swing and much more) when asked about matchfixing once famously said: iss hamam mein sab nange hain. The same holds for breaching the spirit of the game — all are equally guilty.