Saturday, July 02, 2022


Cricket, they say, is a gentleman's game. I've always known it to be so. I've always tried to play it so. Not because the only people who play it are “gentlemen” in the sense of the word but because the mould of the game is that which makes a gentleman out of least on the pitch, if not off it. Even if you're not a gentleman. In cricket, the definition of being a gentleman is not about how you appear (whether or not you shaded your skin with a tattoo, if you choose to hang bangles around your neck or not; or you have dreads longer than that of Robert Nesta), it is more about your conduct and personality on the field of play.

Your interaction with the match officials, the (mutual) respect between you and your opponents, your sincere evaluation of situations while the match is on progress and ultimately, the image you portray to people who view you as their models. Talking about being a model, it amazes me when people who are supposed to be acting right while within the ropes choose to go against everything the game stands for. At the local level, it is easy to get away with because there hardly any cameras in attendance. Even if anybody sees any untoward act, it would be the word of the witness against that of the perpetrator. But when match-fixing, cheating, misconduct are caught live on the cameras, I feel sorry for the culture of our dear game.

Just this year alone, there have been cases of unguided utterances from people who are supposed to play the game in the ultimate spirit of it. What is more alarming is that these subjects know fully well the possibility of these racist, sexist and homophobic comments to be caught by stump mics is very high; but they still go at it. How about the blatant acts of cheating (chewing on the ball, deliberately bowling front-foot no-ball, roughening up the ball with something meant to be used on timber) in the full glare of TV cameras? I can never understand why, with all the intense (crowd) gazes, the peeled eyes (of the TV cameras) and the pinned-back ears (of the stump mics), players still decide (against common sense) to cheat and misbehave. Maybe it's not common after all, this common sense of a thing...but what do I know? I am just a Groundsman.

- A Groundsman.


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