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Stare away, fellows. Challenge a batsman. But everything can't be a scowl and a cavalcade of curses and spitting confrontations, writes Rohit Brijnath in Livemint. He says he will wait for a single gesture of respect from the players at the World Cup. For the game, themselves, the opposition, the crowd.
Loudly and crassly, and without much intervention, cricket has strayed from civility. Decency, once becoming and essential to sporting cultures, is almost considered sissy-ish. Quietly congratulating a batsman on a hard-earned century is viewed as weakness. You bowled hard, he played better, you struggle on, but no. Ignored amidst real war is the truth that for all its celebrity this is only sport.
Kevin Pietersen's book has thrown up some damning claims against the England team. He has alleged that Andy Flower ruled by fear and that there was a clique of senior players who practiced in bullying. While Greame Swann has called KP the autobiography a "work of fiction", Pietersen has not been short of support either, especially on twitter. The situation is degenerating fast, but would the ECB take control of it soon? Ted Corbett, in his blog, thinks not
In the third of my life devoted to studying the habits of the men who control this game I long ago ceased to expect quick and decisive action. Frankly, they are responsible for the mess that is the England dressing room but I do not think they will either summon KP for talks, listen to what he has to say and then make the urgent changes that are needed. Urgent! Bah! A snail will win the Derby long before the ECB will get off their underworked backsides and lead the way to a better world.
An editorial in the Guardian says Sri Lanka's mankading of Jos Buttler was well within the rule books, and so it should be England who apologise for the incident, not the visitors.
In the words of Sir Donald Bradman: "If not, why is the provision there which enables the bowler to run him out? By backing up too far or too early, the non-striker is very obviously gaining an unfair advantage." If it's good enough for the Don, it should be good enough for Alastair Cook. It's England who should apologise.
The Pollard-Starc spat was a disgrace to the sport, but also a "by-product of the studied indifference to abuse on a cricket field," writes Harsha Bhogle, in his column for the Times of India. Urging administrators to take stricter action, Bhogle suggests one way to clamp down on boorish behaviour: red cards.
Players and teams have to be hit where it hurts most and I am afraid the Pollard-Starc affair now makes it mandatory to have red cards on a field. If the Mumbai Indians were to lose the services of Pollard and the Royal Challengers were to see Starc sent off at that point in the game, you would never see what you did. And what about the terrible antics of the Chahals and the Bumrahs, the next gen cricketers who are learning bad behaviour as quickly as they are learning cricket.
I am not asking for a genteel tea party, I am asking for a ban on boorish behaviour. The Dravids, the Tendulkars and the Laras became world class, feared cricketers without disrespecting the game; Malinga and Dhoni don't feel the need to put on boxing gloves either.
Andy Flower likes to tap into the knowledge of other sports, and their coaches, as he decides on the best way to go about his job. That job has now become very tough in the wake of the Ashes whitewash and there are suggestions he will walk if he doesn't get his way over Kevin Pietersen. Sir Clive Woodward, who guided England to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, writing in the Daily Mail, provides an view from outside the cricket world about how the ECB need to go about rebuilding.
No matter the sport, the head coach must be the only man who is unequivocally in charge, yet even Flower's job title of 'team director' muddies everything. In our national set-ups both in cricket and rugby, too many key decisions are being made by committee. That in turn leads to popularity contests and allows compromise to come into play. When things go wrong reports are commissioned -- the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash sparked the Schofield report -- but nobody fronts up to take the blame.