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Australia legspinner, Fawad Ahmed's decision not to wear a beer-company sponsor's logo on his country shirt has sparked off a debate which has quickly moved beyond cricket and to touch upon larger issues of immigration and integration within the Australian society. A few have criticised Ahmed for his decision but as Malcolm Knox points out in the Sydney Morning Herald, the issue is not just about one player but about sport being open to changes within societies and cultures.
Whenever sports try to insulate themselves from change, they self-destruct. So let's imagine that a national symbol, such as the gold shirt Ahmed wears as an Australian one-day cricketer, does not impose a national character. Let's imagine that it's the wearer who changes the character of the shirt. In Ahmed's personal history, is there not the courage and durability we associate with a Hewitt (or a Dawn Fraser, a Herb Elliott, a Dennis Lillee, take your pick)? In his refusal to wear a VB logo, is there not something of that wilfulness that we like to call ''Australian''? In choosing to be here, rather than being born here, has he not already proved something?
Ahmed also finds support from Guardian writer, Joe Gorman who says his decision not wear the logo should be praised if Australia truly values moral conviction.
In an article for Wisden India, Sara Torvalds, a Finland-based cricket fan, recounts a cricket tour that began with a comment to an online over-by-over session, of England's third Test against India in Kolkata, on the Guardian, and ended with three teams on a cricket pitch in Tallinn, Estonia. Along the way, she also shares her evolution from a person who knew nothing about the game to a person who became a Steven Finn supporter 'in a land of Finns'.
It took me more than a year of reading the cricket reports of various British papers. I started following the over-by-over reports on the Guardian's site, and found that the pace of the game opened up for me there. Wikipedia explained words like 'crease' and 'duck', and the various manners you could be 'out' according to the Laws of the game. And then, during England's tour of West Indies in early 2009, I suddenly understood cricket.
"Brilliant. It's utterly brilliant. It's like chess, but with real people," I remember thinking. "And you have to factor in the weather and how the ball behaves in different countries, and the fact that grounds are not uniform in size…" It hadn't been love at first sight, but I was in love now.
At the end of it all, 22-year-old Alby Shale simply collapsed out of exhaustion. He had batted non-stop for 26 hours at The Oval to break a batting world record, and even had the British prime minister David Cameron line up to bowl at him.
Shale, who broke the previous record of 25 hours held by Australian batsman Jade Child, was raising awareness and funds for the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, which is planning to build a cricket ground in Kigali, Rwanda.
The existing cricket field in Kigali had been the site of a massacre in 1994 and remains were found when the tall grass was mowed to create a pitch in 2002. The idea to raise funds for the cause came from Shale's father, Christopher, who died in July 2011.
An exhausted Shale said: "We've seen first-hand what cricket can bring to a country and we decided. He [his father] said to me there, 'Listen, we need to build a new cricket pitch for Rwanda.'"
Australia captain Michael Clarke, who many believe to be the only man in the present set-up capable of subduing the chaos surrounding his side, has not minced words while writing about the errant behavior of David Warner in his column for Australia's Telegraph.
I've always been big on celebrating success. That has always been a great part of Australia's culture. It is tough to win international cricket matches and when you do you must savour the moment to soak up what it means.
But if you haven't got a reason to celebrate you shouldn't be out at 2.30am and you shouldn't be drinking with the opposition who have just beaten you.
For many people, there are few things that matter more in life than brownie points with one's mother, and with the help of Sri Lankan comedian Jehan Ranatunga, Mahela Jayawardene has marketed a charity concert he is supporting as the ultimate way to earn Amma (mother) points. The youtube clip posted on January 31 has Jayawardene providing 10 tips on how to butter up mumsy, including comparing your mother's cooking favourably with other mothers' fare, fixing computers for your mother's friends, and dancing with your mother at weddings. Proceeds from the Ignite charity concert in Colombo on February 2 will go to the Maharagama Cancer Hospital.
Unsurprisingly, the other half of cricket's greatest bromance is doing pretty much the same thing around the same time. Kumar Sangakkara is teaming up with classical crooners The De Lanerolle brothers for a show supporting Sangakkara's Bikes for Life campaign - which provides bicycles to children in rural areas so they can attend school - as well as the Ceylon School for the Deaf and Blind. Rumour is that sadly, Sangakkara won't be singing, but if a healthy donation is on the line, you never know.
Chris Gayle's uninhibited celebration dance after the World Twenty20 win, which featured moves from the global hit 'Gangnam style', has inspired a dance artist, Zinga, in Jamaica to create the 'Chris Gayle cover drive' dance. According to Zinga, who is also a former cricketer and Gayle's friend, the new dance is influenced by Gayle's original moves as well as the Gangnam video. The video will be shot when Gayle returns from the Bangladesh tour and will also feature Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Wavell Hinds and Daren Powell. Zinga has some more moves in the pipeline - 'Nah laugh wid dem' for Samuels and 'Wave dem' for Hinds.
Whats more, Gayle is also expected to sing the song for the promotion of the video before he leaves for the Bangladesh tour. Watch out Bangladesh, Gayle could dazzle you with more than just his bat.
Mark Butcher, Surrey legend and former England player, points out the impracticalities of spirit of cricket in All Out Cricket. Cricket and life, he writes, teach harsh lessons. Stupidity should be no defence in either
Cricket has always had its own sense of morality - a gentleman's code if you will. I recall the quaint practice of 'clapping in' the new batsman. Lovely on the surface of course; but the seven-year-old Michael Holding in me had thoughts of rearranging the poor unfortunate's new dental work. Cricket - like the world in which it is set - has a brutal beauty and is governed by law and order. For the most part!
I conclude that the Spirit of Cricket is a commendable notion but is not without significant flaws in its interpretation. The Laws of cricket are comprehensive and most of the recent wrangles have come about because of a lack of understanding of such Laws, as opposed to massive breaches of some unrealistic utopian code.