It was said, admittedly many years ago that cricket was a game played by gentlemen, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has shown just how outdated that statement has become.
Cricket has sadly in the last decade lost some of the respect it used to have, no longer is it about fair play and honesty but all about winning. Catches are claimed that never carried, appeals go up when the batsman is almost certainly not out, but all trying to pressure or hoodwink the umpire.
The IPL this year though has had some ugly moments. Last night witnessed the Kolokota Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir showing his displeasure at being given out when he was convinced he was not. Then South African Dale Steyn playing for the Sunrisers Hyderbad in the same match shoved Robin Uthappa and had to be calmed down by his team mates.
Earlier in the tournament we saw the now infamous Mitchell Starc-Kieron Pollard scuffle. Starc throwing the ball at Pollard after he pulled away as the Australian bowler approached the crease; which he is entitled to do. Pollard reacting by shaping to throw his bat, and actually losing his grip and releasing it.
Prior to this incident we had Australian Shane Watson playing for the Rajasthan Royals upset at Kolkota Knight Riders fast bowler Andre Russell slowing up in his approach to the wicket and then continuing to the crease and bowling. As many pundits viewed the action agains and again it was deemed that there was absolutely nothing wrong with what Russell did and was perfectly within the rules; although some questioned whether it was in the spirit of the game of cricket. However it would appear that the IPL has very little to do with the spirit of the game.
In fact the events of the last twenty four hours are best summed up by the Daily Telegraph’s Jonathan Liew in a superb piece (Kevin Pietersen Pain in IPL’s Roaring Present) In this piece he wrote “Sneering at the IPL for its relentless positivity is like criticising Eurovision for being a bit over the top. If you go to the circus, you should expect to see a few clowns.”
Maybe that is how we should view the IPL and the crass behaviour of its players. Let us hope that Test Cricket can restore the game and its players to more gentlemanly behaviour.