Samir Chopra November 11, 2008

What's the spirit of cricket?

After many attempts to process the sound and fury generated by Dhoni's 8-1 field placings (day three) and Ponting's bowler handling (day four) in the Nagpur test, I'm starting to think we don't have a determinate concept of "the spirit of cricket".
33

My favorite kind of philosophical discussion involves one where after a lengthy argument about some X, a participant finally throws up his hands and says, "I don't think we have a determinate concept of X".

After many attempts to process the sound and fury generated by Dhoni's 8-1 field placings (day three) and Ponting's bowler handling (day four) in the Nagpur test, I'm starting to think we don't have a determinate concept of "the spirit of cricket". For what else can explain the simultaneous blasting of both captains, one for violating the spirit of cricket, and the other for not?

Let me try and explain my puzzlement at this state of affairs. Dhoni was castigated for violating Clause 2.3 (a) of the Spirit of Cricket, which reads "Thou shalt not set fields that inhibit scoring excessively for doing so may lead to spectator boredom, opposing captain (and fan) disenchantment, and the demise of test cricket." (And bring the wrath of Peter Roebuck and Malcolm Conn down upon your head)

Ponting was castigated for NOT violating Clause 3.7 (b) of the Spirit of Cricket, which reads "Thou shalt always strive to maximize over-rates in Test cricket because failure to do so will lead to spectator boredom, opposing captain (and fan) disenchantment, and the demise of test cricket." (And besides Christopher Martin-Jenkins told us many years ago that the West Indian quicks were destroying all cricket with their dastardly over-rates)

Dhoni was lambasted for playing within the rules of the game, but playing excessively hard and being cynical, for saying "The hell with balanced fields, I've got a series to save, a trophy to win" (Whatever happened to the wonderful land of Hard-But-Fair? Why was Dhoni denied even a tourist visa for that wonderful place?)

Ponting was lambasted for not playing harder, for not saying "The hell with the damn over-rates, I've got a match to win here, goddamnit, a series to square, a trophy to win". Sure, a lot of the hostility directed at Ponting suggested he was merely trying to save his own skin, to not suffer the humiliation of a ban for over-rates. But Ponting was trying to up the over-rates. Why wasn't he praised for sacrificing his team on the altar of the Spirit of Cricket[tm]? The Spirit of Cricket seemed to demand that of Dhoni, didn't it?

I know that the anger directed at Ponting has to do with his general slackness in maintaining over-rates. On which point I agree, he needs to stop his endless waffling on about field placings, his desire to hold lengthy consultations with bowlers and so on. But still, I thought everyone had agreed that over-rates were a Good Thing At All Costs. So Ponting was slack about it. So he fell behind. So he tried to bring them back on board, even at the cost of his team's fortunes (and the enhancement of his own in terms of being able to play against New Zealand next week). But that's not cool. Because one thing captains should not do is sacrifice their team's fortunes for the sake of the Spirit of Cricket. Or should they?

So should Dhoni have messed with India's chances of trying to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by not setting the fields that he thought gave him the best chance of messing with Australia's strategy? And over-rates are only a Good Thing till the point they start messing with your chances of winning a game? And at that point all worry about the spectators, the demise of test cricket and so on, goes out the window?

Do we have a determinate concept of the Spirit of Cricket?

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Imran on November 23, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    In all these comments (talking about spirit of the game) why did no one mentioned the Sydney test?

    Australians only choke on "the spirit of the game" when its suits them.

  • Michael on November 18, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    Tegger, you have hit the spot. Much has been said about Australian sportsmanship etc, but relatively little on the accountability of team India.

    With the Indians obviously on the rise, one of their challenges will be to assess their OWN behaviour (no matter what others do). This is called accepting RESPONSIBILITY and MATURITY, epitomised by Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Hussey, S. Clark, Symonds.

    This is unlikely to happen until the Indian cricket media stops the unnecessary and sensational hyperbole and acquires cricket writing talent to the tune of the Benauds or Chappells who forego destructive nationalism for writing about the good of the whole game/accountability.

    How else do you explain the reaction to Dhoni's tactics, and Ghambir's ban? Dhoni's tactics were obviously within the rules of the game, but not within the spirit. I fell asleep watching the 3rd day, and it's staggering to see how many people speak of the Australians' negativity, which all came from India in this Test.

  • R. Jagannathan on November 13, 2008, 11:31 GMT

    My dear Jondavluc, you can't fool around anyone by saying Ponting has rectified himself for his wrong doing, and engaged the part-time bowlers to maintain the spirit of the game. The fact is that he put his selfish motive (of escaping ban of one test) above the team's interests. Where that his so called "spirit of the game" had gone during Sydney fiasco or when his mates Hayden, Katich, Watson, Johnson sledge the batsmen when they can't get them out.

  • Cricpundit on November 13, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Excellent article. You have fully exposed the double standards most Aussie Commentators and players have shown. I had great respect for Ian's cricketing genius but I fail to understand how he is criticizing 8-1 field, which I am sure he himself would have done what Dhoni di

  • Looch on November 13, 2008, 1:42 GMT

    Sant Great post, I agree with you 100%!

  • sam on November 12, 2008, 19:21 GMT

    peter writes 3 columns everyday on the same day's play and all are different, with 7-2 field it was fine but with 8-1 it's not, i guess that's what they are saying, conn i just read him for sheer entertainment value and see how much of worng propaganda he is feeding to poor aussies, ponting did not do right but if australia had won it would have been alrite, remember cricket is unpredictable it doesnot follow norms and this romantics wants it to play as they predict which will never happen, if it was roebuck in charge india wud've been back after sydney and ponting wud've been sacked so he's better be an armchair critic 'cause out of that chair he's more dangerous;lol

  • sant on November 12, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    Once all the blaming dies down and you cut all the gobblygook to bare essentials, all that remains is that both ponting and dhoni were slack in allowing the over-rate to get out of hand and its only because of this that they should be blamed. Not because ponting tried to change the situation putting his team at a disadvantage or because dhoni 'did not' try to change the situation putting his team at an advantage.

  • Shane Legge on November 12, 2008, 2:55 GMT

    The spirit of cricket is not etched in stone and therefore is open to interpretation. Indian fans obviously see everything that Australia does as breaching it and everything India does as perfectly legitimate. I have an issue with this. If you are unable to criticise your own team in any circumstance then you have nothing to add to these discussions. Please do us a favour and keep your opinions to yourself. In my opinion, neither captain broke the rules at all. What Dhoni did was terribly annoying but perfectly legitimate. I ask the Indian fans: if the shoe was on the other foot would you be jumping up and down about Ponting doing the same thing? As for Ponting, I have no idea how he contravened the rules or the spirit of the game. He was guilty of shooting himself in the foot by not monitoring the over rates. He tried to fix that, fair enough but he is criticised for it. If he didn't try to fix it and bowled his quicks he still would have been criricised. He had already dug the hole.

  • Pratik on November 12, 2008, 1:56 GMT

    @ Tegger:

    "The aim of the game is to bowl at the stumps and not make the batsman go to you."

    By the same token the outcutter that drops just outside the off stump, befuddles the batsman in going for a stroke and and edging to the slip is against the aim of the game. So, McGrath, you are guilty :)

    The arm ball outside the off stump which confuses the batsman preparing for a ripping off-break is against the aim of the game. Kerjza - gulity!

    Heck, then even Mitchell Johnson bowling continuously a foot outside the stump and waiting for the hopelessly out of form Dravid to go at it is also against the aim of the game. How is it that Johnson escapes censure?

    Aussies sledged - that's hard and fair. Indians hit back and that's against spirit of the game.

    Aussies spread out field and stopped attacking right from test #1. That's strategy. Indians choked Aussies only for a day in the last test. That's against spirit of the game.

    Fine spirit this, that seems to burn only in Aussie souls!

  • Rastawookie on November 12, 2008, 0:04 GMT

    Hmmm, interesting. As a captain of a club side, and a proud Australian, I find myself siding my Dhoni's actions much more than Ponting's. Dhoni did what it takes to win the match and series without breaching the rules of cricket. An act that great Australian captains like Waugh or Taylor would have also done. Beating the best ranked team in the world by playing within the rules should never disappoint an audience. Ponting on the other hand should never have let himself get 9 overs down in the first place. Bowling the part-timers isn't the problem, its the symptom of the problem. Ponting spends a massive amount of time setting his fields and talking to his bowlers, and his team doesn't push between overs. Better player management would have allowed him to bowl whoever he wanted at that stage. The damage was already done. As for 'the spirit of the game', well just because cricket is 'ugly' doesn't mean it isn't enthrauling. Captains shouldn't be punished for supporter ignorance.

  • Imran on November 23, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    In all these comments (talking about spirit of the game) why did no one mentioned the Sydney test?

    Australians only choke on "the spirit of the game" when its suits them.

  • Michael on November 18, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    Tegger, you have hit the spot. Much has been said about Australian sportsmanship etc, but relatively little on the accountability of team India.

    With the Indians obviously on the rise, one of their challenges will be to assess their OWN behaviour (no matter what others do). This is called accepting RESPONSIBILITY and MATURITY, epitomised by Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Hussey, S. Clark, Symonds.

    This is unlikely to happen until the Indian cricket media stops the unnecessary and sensational hyperbole and acquires cricket writing talent to the tune of the Benauds or Chappells who forego destructive nationalism for writing about the good of the whole game/accountability.

    How else do you explain the reaction to Dhoni's tactics, and Ghambir's ban? Dhoni's tactics were obviously within the rules of the game, but not within the spirit. I fell asleep watching the 3rd day, and it's staggering to see how many people speak of the Australians' negativity, which all came from India in this Test.

  • R. Jagannathan on November 13, 2008, 11:31 GMT

    My dear Jondavluc, you can't fool around anyone by saying Ponting has rectified himself for his wrong doing, and engaged the part-time bowlers to maintain the spirit of the game. The fact is that he put his selfish motive (of escaping ban of one test) above the team's interests. Where that his so called "spirit of the game" had gone during Sydney fiasco or when his mates Hayden, Katich, Watson, Johnson sledge the batsmen when they can't get them out.

  • Cricpundit on November 13, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Excellent article. You have fully exposed the double standards most Aussie Commentators and players have shown. I had great respect for Ian's cricketing genius but I fail to understand how he is criticizing 8-1 field, which I am sure he himself would have done what Dhoni di

  • Looch on November 13, 2008, 1:42 GMT

    Sant Great post, I agree with you 100%!

  • sam on November 12, 2008, 19:21 GMT

    peter writes 3 columns everyday on the same day's play and all are different, with 7-2 field it was fine but with 8-1 it's not, i guess that's what they are saying, conn i just read him for sheer entertainment value and see how much of worng propaganda he is feeding to poor aussies, ponting did not do right but if australia had won it would have been alrite, remember cricket is unpredictable it doesnot follow norms and this romantics wants it to play as they predict which will never happen, if it was roebuck in charge india wud've been back after sydney and ponting wud've been sacked so he's better be an armchair critic 'cause out of that chair he's more dangerous;lol

  • sant on November 12, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    Once all the blaming dies down and you cut all the gobblygook to bare essentials, all that remains is that both ponting and dhoni were slack in allowing the over-rate to get out of hand and its only because of this that they should be blamed. Not because ponting tried to change the situation putting his team at a disadvantage or because dhoni 'did not' try to change the situation putting his team at an advantage.

  • Shane Legge on November 12, 2008, 2:55 GMT

    The spirit of cricket is not etched in stone and therefore is open to interpretation. Indian fans obviously see everything that Australia does as breaching it and everything India does as perfectly legitimate. I have an issue with this. If you are unable to criticise your own team in any circumstance then you have nothing to add to these discussions. Please do us a favour and keep your opinions to yourself. In my opinion, neither captain broke the rules at all. What Dhoni did was terribly annoying but perfectly legitimate. I ask the Indian fans: if the shoe was on the other foot would you be jumping up and down about Ponting doing the same thing? As for Ponting, I have no idea how he contravened the rules or the spirit of the game. He was guilty of shooting himself in the foot by not monitoring the over rates. He tried to fix that, fair enough but he is criticised for it. If he didn't try to fix it and bowled his quicks he still would have been criricised. He had already dug the hole.

  • Pratik on November 12, 2008, 1:56 GMT

    @ Tegger:

    "The aim of the game is to bowl at the stumps and not make the batsman go to you."

    By the same token the outcutter that drops just outside the off stump, befuddles the batsman in going for a stroke and and edging to the slip is against the aim of the game. So, McGrath, you are guilty :)

    The arm ball outside the off stump which confuses the batsman preparing for a ripping off-break is against the aim of the game. Kerjza - gulity!

    Heck, then even Mitchell Johnson bowling continuously a foot outside the stump and waiting for the hopelessly out of form Dravid to go at it is also against the aim of the game. How is it that Johnson escapes censure?

    Aussies sledged - that's hard and fair. Indians hit back and that's against spirit of the game.

    Aussies spread out field and stopped attacking right from test #1. That's strategy. Indians choked Aussies only for a day in the last test. That's against spirit of the game.

    Fine spirit this, that seems to burn only in Aussie souls!

  • Rastawookie on November 12, 2008, 0:04 GMT

    Hmmm, interesting. As a captain of a club side, and a proud Australian, I find myself siding my Dhoni's actions much more than Ponting's. Dhoni did what it takes to win the match and series without breaching the rules of cricket. An act that great Australian captains like Waugh or Taylor would have also done. Beating the best ranked team in the world by playing within the rules should never disappoint an audience. Ponting on the other hand should never have let himself get 9 overs down in the first place. Bowling the part-timers isn't the problem, its the symptom of the problem. Ponting spends a massive amount of time setting his fields and talking to his bowlers, and his team doesn't push between overs. Better player management would have allowed him to bowl whoever he wanted at that stage. The damage was already done. As for 'the spirit of the game', well just because cricket is 'ugly' doesn't mean it isn't enthrauling. Captains shouldn't be punished for supporter ignorance.

  • jonathan on November 11, 2008, 23:06 GMT

    Well said, Samir.

  • ST on November 11, 2008, 20:27 GMT

    I don't think anyone really thinks Punter contravened the spirit of cricket, do they? He simply let his team and his country down by being selfish. As for Dhoni's field, I think what he did was justified by the result; a win, not a draw. End of story? Maybe, but I just want to add that people who try to define the spirit of cricket really don't understand it. It's like proving there is a God, it simply cannot be done and is all the better for it.

  • Mukund Nadkarni on November 11, 2008, 18:14 GMT

    Well, Gerrard's post(no.5) explains the situation best, while Fanon's post(no.9)takes care of the philosophical side of it. Good posts those, as they contribute constructively to the debate. Fanon's post did have me scurrying over to Wiktionary though!

    Anyways I don't think Dhoni's tactics were wrong, India was leading 1-0, the onus was on Australia to win this match. I don't see anything wrong in making that as tough as possible for the Aussies. If the Indians were bowling outside off, well that's their job. You don't expect them to bowl where the batsman likes it! I think since Australia HAD to win this match, one would have expected them to take the match to the opposition, rather than wait for the match to drift towards them, the onus was on them to act, but they didn't. As for Mr. Ponting, I don't believe he was being selfish or anything, he was being plain stupid. Don't think a selfish man would make such stupid decisions!

  • Naresh on November 11, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    What's the spirit of cricket?

    Its an aussie hoax.

  • jondavluc on November 11, 2008, 16:28 GMT

    y2india_007

    My dear india.Yeah because hitting is right so longs as someone starts it.??? And of course Australia always start it its always the aussies??? this is becoming the trend in India it seems "Yeah but aussies started it" Maybe its not the aussies who struggle with Inbias maybe its the indians.

    Look Ricky ponting did something wrong he admits that but He decided to rectify that by putting the part timers on so he could keep the run rate down.Yes it shouldn't of got there but it did so aleast as fans can exleast repect the fact that ricky ponting did something right.

    Anyways its hard for on here to get logic because most of the time they just copy writers to justify there hate towards a team.

  • Salim on November 11, 2008, 15:00 GMT

    This is a moment ive been waiting for, for over 15 years. Now we will finally see how good Punter Ponting really is. He came through the ranks when AUS were on top, now with Warne, McGrath, Langer, Gilly all retiring Aus no longer look the force they once were. As a WI supporter we went through the same thing in 1990 when VIv, Greendige Marshall left and 10 years later when Amby and Walsh pack-up. Throughout these legends retiring Lara maintained his incredible standards even as the WI team dipped to new depths.

    Can little Ricky hold his team together? And like Lara show Atlas-like performances year after year until a new wave of AUS cricketers arrive? The recent series against India was not the best start.

  • y2india_007 on November 11, 2008, 14:59 GMT

    To Mr.Tegger... My dear Aussie. You can't question Indians in anyway since it's the Aussies who always provocate the Indians on & off the field. If you think that only Aussies can play HARD cricket then its not the case with Indians any more my dear friend. It's always the Aussies who provocate the other Cricketers & excape punishment & penalty. You Guys cannot accept the backlash at you. Without any reason no one will ever physically contact Watto. Its him who was tormenting Gauti right from the beginning of the match (if u ve doubt, see the entire footage of the match). I am not justifing Gauti's deed, but i jst wanna tell u tat "The Guy who provocates escapes & the Guy who reacts always suffers". If you see all the disciplinary records agnst Indians, it's the Indians who reacts to the provocater & thats y their disciplinary record is bad. If you want to stop this, then you should tell Aussies to stop Sledging & provocating people if they don't find means to get a batsman out...

  • Akshay on November 11, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    the best post i have read on this topic over all blogs and websites.

    Clearly this demonstrates that "Spirit of Cricket" is nothing but a fancy or rather emotional excuse for losing team.

    For me personally, What Dhoni did is perfectly understandable and with in laws of game (if not with in "spirit of game") even though it wasn't very enterprising watching it. Ponting's tactics to me were ununderstable and confusing and they were with in laws of game too (not sure if "Spirit of game" applies here).

    These tactics will continue to prosper unless a proper balance between bat and ball is found out. At the moment game is severly tilted towards batsman that captains like Dhoni are left with no option to get batsman out other than setting 8-1 field.

  • Donthaveaclue on November 11, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    Sure, the series exposed some vulnerabilities in the Aussies, but that was only expected in the post-Mcgrath and Warne era. What was more noticable was how both teams resorted to some ordinary tactics in trying to gain the upper hand. Test cricket needs some safeguards against negative play to ensure that viewers don't feel cheated by teams looking to protect leads. I've blooged about some suggested rule-changes on outsideedge.wordpress.com

  • Atuls on November 11, 2008, 12:46 GMT

    I think Santa Banta jokebook would be better than so called 'Spirit of Cricket Book'. Steve wow wrote something in it and everyone is adding his own bit into it. Everytoome Ricky is sensationalized he adds one chapter into this book. I just could help giving out laugh when he first came up with that reason. Phew.... he wanted to ball 90 over becuase of spirit of cricket book said so... Ha Ha very funny.

  • Tegger on November 11, 2008, 12:06 GMT

    Indian fans above are having a crack at journalists working for Australian media (ie roebuck,conn and chappel) for criticising ponting and dhoni. At least they are fair.

    Ponting deserves criticism the overrate was poor. However India also deserves a share of criticism. To bowl 20 overs in a morning session is poor. Dhoni also deserves criticism a field such as the one he set is not in the spirit of cricket. The aim of the game is to bowl at the stumps and not make the batsman go to you.

    As for the Indian fan above who raised mcgrath bowling to nine slips that was so all of the AUstralians were together when the final wicket fell in an amazing run of wins.

    I think one thing Indians need to learn is to question their own side as Australians do there team and hold them to the same standard rather then bemoaning australias sledging and defending either physical contact or monkey chants. The indian team cross the line more then anyone else and the disciplinary records prove it.

  • Anjo on November 11, 2008, 10:17 GMT

    I remember a couple of instances where Hayden has accused opponents of being "selfish", several instances where Ponting, Hayden etc have said "Its just the way we play our cricket mate, we're always thinking of winning" and Steve Waugh saying "They make the rules, we just try to make sure we're playing within them" after the '99 World Cup match where they tried eliminating New Zealand by slowing down their run rate. "Hard but fair" is another hackneyed slogan they use to cover up sledging and things that really affect the Spirit of Cricket. All said, its a stupid rule and Ponting using it as his primary defense is even more stupid. Regarding the commentators who can't seem to decide whether they like the Spirit of Cricket or not, to borrow from Eric Idle's "Always look on the bright side of life", if all you're going to do is moan all day we should take your teeth away.

  • Madan on November 11, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    The truth is actually in what these commentators left unsaid. My guess is they plainly think Ponting was embarrassingly - in a manner unbecoming of the Baggy Green, so to speak - outwitted by his opponent and want to blast him for that but have to necessarily couch it in a lot of cricket jargon to hide the real motive. Likewise, they grudgingly admire Dhoni's tactics and also the execution of them but it goes against their fanciful notion that Indian cricketers are "good boys", so they have to criticize him, again in a suitably self-righteous manner. You have correctly pointed out the real difference between the two situations: Dhoni was within the rules while Ponting was dangerously close to breaching them. Dhoni would have been in trouble on day 5, but Australia got bowled out before tea and he escaped censure.

  • Biju on November 11, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    I read the most rediculous article from Peter Roebuck suggesting that ICC should get involved to make some rules on field settings.The beaty of test cricket is its flexibilty compared to the shorter form of the game.In test matches the teams can adopt more innovative approches as against the opponents suiting the situations and the most aggressive approach will win.Its like a war.The approach of Dhoni on the third day was the apt one and it resulted in putting Aussies under pressure and forced them to play false shots resulted in rapping their 1st innings at 355.There is nothing wrong in that.Pointing's approach on the 4th day also attracted lot of critisism.He had his own plans in his mind and that is why he is the captain.If some body wants to critisise him let them captain the team.This is rediculous.

  • Fanon on November 11, 2008, 9:53 GMT

    Whats with Roebuck's utterly unexamined knee-jerk reactionary tripe. His solipsism, of views so skewed towards the traditional powers and instinctively oppositional to the new, leads to writing almost as pedantic as his limited batting talents. Ironically what saves his writing form pedantry is his addled contrariness replete with unspoken but only too obvious assumptions concerning the righteousness of the old order. For spirit of cricket substitute history, and as we know only too well the dominant cultures, the ruthless ones, literally dictate history as their triumphal progress. Ponting contnually brays on about the spirit of cricket while betraying all semblance of honesty, fair-play and an ethical code of behaviour when it suits - he is paying for it now with the rapid erosion of once unchallenged dominance. Great Karma, and revenge for the spirit of cricket and all things

  • sps75 on November 11, 2008, 9:44 GMT

    To continue, I thought there were still a lot of gaps to pick up singles and if they had improvised atleast once or twice, there might have been a chance to make dhoni think about this tactic. Instead, it was a meek surrender to the pressure created and please do not blame others for your incapabilities. Secondly, I would not say this as a negative tactic. The width was offered for lofted drives and cut shots. Its just that the aussie players were stuck in a hole and after the fall of quick wickets, they got demoralised. ITS JUST THAT.

  • sps75 on November 11, 2008, 9:39 GMT

    Frankly, I donot know whether Dhoni"s tactics are to be appreciated or condemned. But the outcry from the Australian Media especially Malcolm Conn, Ian Chappell etc.,. Just wanted to know whether there was this same outcry when Steve Waugh employed such a tactic to stop Craig Mcmillan and Chris Cairns to stop winning the test match ( adelaide or sydney ), or when time and time again Mcgrath bowled to 8 or 9 slip fielders ( this particular photograph has won the best cricket photograph at that time ). Is this because Dhoni and his men had copied the australian way to control runs or is this outcry in response to Dhoni and his men did a better job than the usual Aussie way. Poor you, you have fallen prey to the repeated brainwashing by these guys that as if this tactic was innovated by Dhoni.

  • Gerard on November 11, 2008, 9:36 GMT

    Dhoni's tactics were fine. Playing for a draw was in his team's interests and they had earned the right to do it by virtue of a series lead. The last thing we need is more bureaucratic regulations making test cricket more formulaic- if that happens, then we'll really know what a boring test match is.

    Ponting's tactics were an insult to the game. That he tried to get through quick overs after tea is not the issue. The problem was that he had made no attempt to pick up the over rate before it reached that point. There is no excuse for this. If Ponting cannot reconcile his responsibilities to the game with his responsibilities to his team, he should be removed as captain.

  • Jorge Panderos on November 11, 2008, 9:09 GMT

    It is a poor excuse from Ponting, trying to justify putting himself ahead of the team. After all it was him who poorly adminstered his team in the field in the first place which caused the slow over rate. Then he tries to use "the spirit of cricket" as a shield agaisnt fair criticism from very experience commentators. This coming from the same man whos team claims bunt balls in the field and who verbally abuse their opponents and pass it off at sledging. He should have bit the bullet, bowled his best bowlers to try and save the trophy and then faced the music. Punters predessecors, Waugh and Taylot, always carried the team in the right way, according to the spirit of teh game. But when people look back at Punters legacy they will see an arrogant bunch of bullies led by his trusty lieutenants Hayden and Symonds, and the biggests of them all sitting on the throne. Good luck to you Punter, im sure you'll need it

  • Mahesh on November 11, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    Hit the nail on the head. And the most interesting aspect of these evens is that both the contradictory tactics adopted by Dhoni and Ricky have been criticized by the same voices - Peter Roebuck, Malcolm Conn, Ian Chappel!

  • RSN on November 11, 2008, 8:51 GMT

    Much Ado about nothing! move on...the series is over..

  • Dubby49 on November 11, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    Excellent post. The "spirit of cricket" seems to be something trotted out by losers.

  • Madhu on November 11, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    Its all media creation 'The spirit of Cricket'. The same media hounded out Dravid(including the Chairman of selection committe in a newspaper column) when he refused to enforce follow-on in England and protected the 1-0 lead and win a series after 21 years. The same media is now hailing so called Dhoni's positive strategy. Remember Dravid action was not against the 'Spirit of Cricket' nor against rules. Iam convinced its all medais double standards and they will glorify/vilify whomsoever they wnat as they have the space at thier dsiposal.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Madhu on November 11, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    Its all media creation 'The spirit of Cricket'. The same media hounded out Dravid(including the Chairman of selection committe in a newspaper column) when he refused to enforce follow-on in England and protected the 1-0 lead and win a series after 21 years. The same media is now hailing so called Dhoni's positive strategy. Remember Dravid action was not against the 'Spirit of Cricket' nor against rules. Iam convinced its all medais double standards and they will glorify/vilify whomsoever they wnat as they have the space at thier dsiposal.

  • Dubby49 on November 11, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    Excellent post. The "spirit of cricket" seems to be something trotted out by losers.

  • RSN on November 11, 2008, 8:51 GMT

    Much Ado about nothing! move on...the series is over..

  • Mahesh on November 11, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    Hit the nail on the head. And the most interesting aspect of these evens is that both the contradictory tactics adopted by Dhoni and Ricky have been criticized by the same voices - Peter Roebuck, Malcolm Conn, Ian Chappel!

  • Jorge Panderos on November 11, 2008, 9:09 GMT

    It is a poor excuse from Ponting, trying to justify putting himself ahead of the team. After all it was him who poorly adminstered his team in the field in the first place which caused the slow over rate. Then he tries to use "the spirit of cricket" as a shield agaisnt fair criticism from very experience commentators. This coming from the same man whos team claims bunt balls in the field and who verbally abuse their opponents and pass it off at sledging. He should have bit the bullet, bowled his best bowlers to try and save the trophy and then faced the music. Punters predessecors, Waugh and Taylot, always carried the team in the right way, according to the spirit of teh game. But when people look back at Punters legacy they will see an arrogant bunch of bullies led by his trusty lieutenants Hayden and Symonds, and the biggests of them all sitting on the throne. Good luck to you Punter, im sure you'll need it

  • Gerard on November 11, 2008, 9:36 GMT

    Dhoni's tactics were fine. Playing for a draw was in his team's interests and they had earned the right to do it by virtue of a series lead. The last thing we need is more bureaucratic regulations making test cricket more formulaic- if that happens, then we'll really know what a boring test match is.

    Ponting's tactics were an insult to the game. That he tried to get through quick overs after tea is not the issue. The problem was that he had made no attempt to pick up the over rate before it reached that point. There is no excuse for this. If Ponting cannot reconcile his responsibilities to the game with his responsibilities to his team, he should be removed as captain.

  • sps75 on November 11, 2008, 9:39 GMT

    Frankly, I donot know whether Dhoni"s tactics are to be appreciated or condemned. But the outcry from the Australian Media especially Malcolm Conn, Ian Chappell etc.,. Just wanted to know whether there was this same outcry when Steve Waugh employed such a tactic to stop Craig Mcmillan and Chris Cairns to stop winning the test match ( adelaide or sydney ), or when time and time again Mcgrath bowled to 8 or 9 slip fielders ( this particular photograph has won the best cricket photograph at that time ). Is this because Dhoni and his men had copied the australian way to control runs or is this outcry in response to Dhoni and his men did a better job than the usual Aussie way. Poor you, you have fallen prey to the repeated brainwashing by these guys that as if this tactic was innovated by Dhoni.

  • sps75 on November 11, 2008, 9:44 GMT

    To continue, I thought there were still a lot of gaps to pick up singles and if they had improvised atleast once or twice, there might have been a chance to make dhoni think about this tactic. Instead, it was a meek surrender to the pressure created and please do not blame others for your incapabilities. Secondly, I would not say this as a negative tactic. The width was offered for lofted drives and cut shots. Its just that the aussie players were stuck in a hole and after the fall of quick wickets, they got demoralised. ITS JUST THAT.

  • Fanon on November 11, 2008, 9:53 GMT

    Whats with Roebuck's utterly unexamined knee-jerk reactionary tripe. His solipsism, of views so skewed towards the traditional powers and instinctively oppositional to the new, leads to writing almost as pedantic as his limited batting talents. Ironically what saves his writing form pedantry is his addled contrariness replete with unspoken but only too obvious assumptions concerning the righteousness of the old order. For spirit of cricket substitute history, and as we know only too well the dominant cultures, the ruthless ones, literally dictate history as their triumphal progress. Ponting contnually brays on about the spirit of cricket while betraying all semblance of honesty, fair-play and an ethical code of behaviour when it suits - he is paying for it now with the rapid erosion of once unchallenged dominance. Great Karma, and revenge for the spirit of cricket and all things

  • Biju on November 11, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    I read the most rediculous article from Peter Roebuck suggesting that ICC should get involved to make some rules on field settings.The beaty of test cricket is its flexibilty compared to the shorter form of the game.In test matches the teams can adopt more innovative approches as against the opponents suiting the situations and the most aggressive approach will win.Its like a war.The approach of Dhoni on the third day was the apt one and it resulted in putting Aussies under pressure and forced them to play false shots resulted in rapping their 1st innings at 355.There is nothing wrong in that.Pointing's approach on the 4th day also attracted lot of critisism.He had his own plans in his mind and that is why he is the captain.If some body wants to critisise him let them captain the team.This is rediculous.