What is cricket and what is not has become a serious question in modern days cricket. Winning is the essence of the game and many relying upon many unusual methods to win the game. The days are over when cricket was jus a game of bat and ball, as now using offensive language and sledging has become a strategy to win a match. For purists, using offensive language and showing aggression is not cricket but for some people offensive language, sledging is okay as these bring commercial ingredients to the game and bring excitement to the game. For them, unless the fight is physical, everything else is okay. But, MCC is not happy with the activities of modern day cricketers. So it has decided to empower umpires with cards to abolish unwanted incident on the field.
The custodian of cricket Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is alarmed by rapidly increasing on-field aggression, sledging, and physical brawls. So it has decided to empower the umpires by handing over red and yellow cards.
It has invited local leagues, school and universities to take part in trials this summer in England. For offences like time wasting, showing dissent of umpire’s decision, excessive appealing and using offensive language will be given warning, followed by a five-run penalty in the second instance.
But, if the same offence has happened for the second time then there will be no warning at all as umpire will show a card considering the intensity of offence. Anyone who bowls a beamer or intimidates an umpire or threatens another player will be sent off the field for 10 overs. If anyone commits an assault will be sent off for the remainder of the game.
No sooner did MCC make the announcement, Wahab Riaz and Ahmed Shehzad got involved in a heated exchange of words that turned physical during a Pakistan Super League match in UAE.
But, there is also a matter of concern in showing cards as it may affect the game at the end of the proceedings.
As Scyld Berry warned in his editorial note in Wisden in 2008, “Once this taboo is broken, it could rapidly spread, just as sledging – sustained personal abuse – has spread from international teams downwards.” Of course, the system of showing cards and sending off players could also be said to be “not cricket”, which is why the sport has resisted introducing it for all this while. Sadly, it seems that these days more and more people are struggling to differentiate between what is and isn’t cricket!