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January 15, 2008
With the cricket world's attention on sledging after the controversial Sydney Test, former Australian captain Ian Chappell, Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara and former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said the problem could be tackled if more power was given to on-field umpires, and called for players to act with more responsibility.
"If you have a CEO who is not even in the country and not even in the ground trying to call in and say, 'Well I saw this', that is never going to work," Sangakkara said during Cricinfo's Round Table, a fortnightly audio show. "Even a match referee is quite far removed from where the action is. The two guys who are in charge are the umpires and they should be allowed to handle it as they see fit."
Chappell was critical of the ICC for undermining the authority of the on-field umpires. "[The ICC have] diluted the decision-making process of the umpires on the field and in doing that, they have diluted the authority of the umpires on the field. They have also put layers of officials between the umpires and the players."
The three thought that while banter on the field was always going to be present, there are lines which should not be crossed. Sangakkara said a player's colour, race, country or family should not be dragged into the debate. Chappell agreed, "There is gamesmanship, which has always been around and there's always place in the game for that. But there's no path for personal abuse or inane chatter."
Sangakkara also stressed that incidents should be left on the field. "Players have to be very honest with themselves that if they do engage in gamesmanship and banter, that is always something you can leave on the field. You should not go running around and complaining to the media or to the match referees."
Manjrekar was of the opinion that television was also a contributing factor to players displaying more aggression on the field. "Some players have realised that if they behaved in a certain manner, if they said some things or glared at the opposition, they would get a lot of attention via the television cameras," he said. "Obviously, this is the cricketer who perhaps doesn't get enough wickets or runs to get the attention. So he realises: 'If I behave in a certain fashion that is slightly over the top, I tend to get lot of attention'." (Click here to listen to the show or read the transcript.)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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