I don’t want to be one for calling out names, or the media, but there comes a moment when you have to ask how far is too far – especially when it comes to the Spirit of Cricket.
England, in a sense, has been caught off guard with the powerful response from Australian fans after their victory in the 2013 UK Ashes tour. The Gabba test was a heated affair with no holds barred and some lines nearly broken.
No-one minds a bit of banter on or off the field; it all involves discussing a series, player or coach. Unfortunately, a lot of the discussion, especially in the media, has descended into chaos.
The Courier Mail newspaper refused to publish the name Stuart Broad during the first test, after Australian coach Darren Lehmann labelled him a cheat in July. A chorus erupted, and there was plenty of criticism thrown the way of the publication during the first test.
As viewers and readers should be well aware, Broad responded to the arrows fired his way by taking six wickets in the first innings. Listeners, viewers and journalists alike sat up.
However, that was the tip of the iceberg for the Australian summer series. Sledging came next, and had Michael Clarke’s last few words on day four at the Gabba not been picked up by the stump microphone, the outcome of the situation, and the subsequent reports, could have been very different.
There is most certainly no place for any type of dissent, racial vilification or offensive comments on the cricket field. While the heated words stemmed from previous conversations from throughout the day, the reaction seemed a little bit over the top.
It is not the first time, nor it be the last, that a player swears on the field. On how many other occasions has it managed to slip by the umpires, and no sanction is handed out?
Clarke may have seemed to overstep the proverbial mark with his sentence to James Anderson: “get ready for a broken f**king arm,” but what happens to the next person who says something similar; will they be fined 20 percent of their match fee?
Next comes the call from England that the Gabba not be an Ashes venue in future years. Much of the cricket world stopped and stared on Wednesday when reports filtered through that the England and Wales Cricket Board asked cricket Australia to drop Brisbane as an Ashes destination, because of “crowd behaviour”.
The board is taking measures to try and eradicate the “bombshells” that have been dropped during this series, but it makes matters worse.
It goes both ways, with Australian players in the past having received plenty of boos and taunts when touring England. Everyone involved might be a separate entity, but in the end, it is all coming together as a giant gust of wind that keeps pushing everything along.
For the Spirit of Cricket and fair play to continue as a core part of the game, there needs to be more action and less talk on the field. Players have an obligation to play the game on equal ground.
Perhaps The Courier Mail gave Stuart Broad a bit too much juice to work on. It was done to throw both Broad and the England team off their game, but at the same stage sparked a battle that will run throughout the remainder of the series.
We’re all for the banter and witty remarks. Though please, if everyone could save the stuff on the level below and use it only as necessary, then the cricket can play on.