While the cricket is gradually becoming more and more enthralling with matches picking up new heights and records, tendency of aggression in players is also becoming more rampant. There are several top players in current teams who has several records of altercations and fights both on field and off field. Starting from David Warner, players like Ben Stokes, joined the fray. But more recently, questionable behaviors were from players not known for such slips-ups before. Such new names are Nathan Lyon and Kagiso Rabada. While more cricket is being played than before, players suspension and match-fee deductions for breaching ICC code of conducts have become more common.
Lately, a CCTV footage surfaced in media where David Warner was seen shouting at Quinton de Kock while moving up the steps into the dressing room in Durban. It was in the tea break, after de Kock and Aiden Markram hauled South Africa’s score to a strong figure. Warner had to be pushed back by his team mates while walking up the stairs, finally Smith dragged him to the dressing room. As the footage was mute, what Warner was shouting about is not known. It was revealed in social media that the altercations might have started after Warner asked de Kock for a drink at evening after match, to which the latter replied sternly that it was not Australia where players drink beer after matches, and he respects his game. But the source is of this information is not authenticated.
In response to this incident, Cricket Australia put forward a statement where it confirmed that the board is working to “establish the facts of what occurred”. Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa team manager said that the incident is unfortunate and is certainly “not in the spirit of the game”. He also revealed, South Africa management is waiting for ICC to intervene.
In the ongoing series between South Africa and Australia several such misbehaviors occurred. Warner was also seen yelling at Aiden Markram after taking de Villiers’ wicket on the fourth day. In another occasion, Nathan Lyon, the senior bowler was seen running over AB de Villiers after knocking the bails to run out the latter. Lyon put the ball near the batsman on the ground as he ran over to celebrate his wicket. The behavior is clearly seen as a blunder on the senior bowler’s part.
There might be several reasons of a such unwanted behavior by cricket players. In the games history, such incidences hardly happened. This is naturally because, players are becoming more aggressive and they are losing the mutual sense of respect to their fellow counterparts. With such attitude on field and off-field, soon management would have to let crickets to sit in behavior and conduct sessions. However, it is unsure if classroom session would help players to be gentlemen as the game require them to be.
Nathan Lyon run pass AB de Villiers putting the ball on him to celebrate the run out.
A difference between players now and then is related to the growth of cricket as an industry. Now cricket have become a money minting game for boards involving several stakeholders than just cricketers. In fact, broadcasters and cricket boards have transformed the game as a billion-dollar industry. As the key to this transformation, cricketers have been playing more matches than ever participating in back-to-back international series. The concern of rests in players is clearly apparent in top teams like India, where most of the regular players seem to crave for rests between international series. Such conditions would naturally have a negative impact on cricketers turning them more as a cricket playing machines away from their families for months. Losing emotions and warmth in natural under such circumstances, which is clearly reflected in their uncontained aggressions.
With such advances in cricket, country boards as well as ICC must take alternative steps to check the issue of attitude and behavior of players. Suspension and curbing match fees as punitive measures does not seem adequate in current scenario. Cricket managements should work out the solution of the basic reasons of such changes in behavior of cricketers to resist further degradation of the game.
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