“Just Not Cricket”

Col Hennessy

When someone tells you “it’s just not cricket” they are usually referring to the fact that your actions are not appropriate for that particular scenario. Well, that’s the way it is with our current Test cricketers.
I want to reflect on an incident in the previous test in Perth, where the Australians showed their sportsmanship or indeed their lack of it. In our first innings the opener David Warner scored over 250 runs and when he was finally dismissed he was applauded off the field and personally congratulated by many of the Kiwis for his efforts. Due respect was shown for his efforts.
It’s a shame the Aussies couldn’t reciprocate. When ‘man of the match’ Ross Taylor top scored with 290 he was virtually ignored by the Australian players as he left the field. I was listening to the game on the ABC and couldn’t believe what was being described. I mean it wasn’t just any old score. It was the highest score by any visiting player in a test match in Australia. Wow! One other commentator said it was an oversight not to offer that personal touch. Rubbish.
Its part of that hard edged aggression the locals like to play with. That’s well and good but there is still room for showing some class and acknowledging efforts like Taylor’s. Another commentator tried to downplay it by saying the Aussies would have shown their appreciation in the dressing sheds after the game. Not good enough. We don’t mind sledging opposition players in public (we are world beaters at that) so the reverse should apply as well.
To me, the Kiwis have always handled it better than us. Their captain Brendan McCallum showed true grace when they were runners up in the cricket World Cup earlier in the year. Previous captain Stephen Fleming also didn’t buy into the antics we were displaying. Only recently our fast bowler Mitchell Starc was fined half his match fee for throwing the ball at a Kiwi player when he became frustrated. At least new captain Steven Smith showed his displeasure at such a response.
Only a year ago though his predecessor Michael Clark told one of the pommie tailenders ‘to expect a broken arm’ after some verbal confrontation. All I can say is ‘it’s just not cricket’ and we are capable of better.
The only role model I can think of is former wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist who chose to ‘walk’ when he snicked the ball to the keeper even if the umpire chose not to raise the finger. As a former umpire, I don’t think he needs to do that but it does show some class and sportsmanship. We can do with more of it.