From the Viewsroom

Sledgers, zip up!

NS Vageesh | Updated on March 09, 2018

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Profanities have no place on the cricket field

When Ajinkya Rahane politely rebuffed Australian captain Steve Smith’s offer of a drink after the last test match at Dharmshala, he did the right thing.

Heap abuse on your opponents all day and invite them over to a glass of beer at the end of play — that is Australia’s definition of sportsmanship. No hard feelings, mate, they tell you. Profanities uttered on the field must remain there and not be carried carry back to the dressing room or beyond — so goes the unwritten code of these players. That is, as long as they are the ones giving it. The minute someone returns it in good measure or provides an elegant twist, they are ready to scream “Racist!” Double standards, really, and you don’t need replays to understand that.

Perhaps it is time for the ICC to revisit its code of conduct for players and impose enormous fines on players for indecent behaviour — as a first step. Considering that players’ earnings have multiplied many times over, it is unlikely to make a dent immediately. Besides, team loyalty will ensure that the penalty is happily shared.

The penalty must, therefore, be multiples of the match fee — and not only the player, but the captain, coach and respective board presidents must be fined too. Repeat offences must lead to progressive and higher penalties including being barred from the game (and top offices) for different lengths of time. When you hit the top brass hard, it is unlikely they will sit and watch benignly, as they do now, as things get worse by the day.

Simultaneously, perhaps, it is time for the ICC to also impose the wearing of mouth guards on players. True, it will present an odd picture — players looking like masked bandits. But that is the only way cricket will remain a gentleman’s game that can be watched by millions — including children.

Associate Editor

Published on April 02, 2017

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