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Somethings Never Change Especially Players Dissent Towards Umpires

By Sam Sooppersaud

July 13th, 2009
The only sure thing about change in the world is change itself. Changes are happening all around us each minute, each second of the day. The earth is revolving and rotating at the same time. It is not in identical position for any two second. It always changes position. In the winter solstice we put on several layers of clothing to keep warm. We shovel snow when the white stuff falls. In the autumn solstice the green vegetation gives way to grayness and seeming barrenness. In the summer solstice we put on our skimpier clothing in order feel cool. Get my point! There is change going on all the time around us.

Now let's go to the cricket scene in New York. (This can be anywhere else). After long months of cold weather and virtually being closeted in our warm homes, we get out onto the cricket parks to enjoy our summer pastime - Cricket. For most of us, cricket lovers, this is a kind of a way of life for us in the summer months. Most of us make it a family day at the cricket match. We cook our delicious and favorite foods, pack our cooler with our favorite beverage, get our chairs and whatever needed to ensure that we have a grand picnic at the game. Again, here we are switching from our day to day routine to one of pleasure. Here again, is change.

I think that by now most of my readers get the point that change in life is a constant. But, is it! Let's get back to the game of cricket. This is a pastime that was first played in Great Britain by the aristocrats. It was a way to past the time - a pastime. The original players were decked out in finest suits and top hats. The ladies watching the game were attired in their finest Sunday haberdashery.

The word, CRICKET, was construed as meaning gentlemanliness. Even nowadays if we say something is not cricket, it means that it is not right or correct. There is a negative connotation here.

Please bear with me, I am getting to the point. Among the participants in a game of cricket are the players themselves, the scorers, and the umpires. Each group has its own function. The players , of course, play the game. The scorers keep a tally of the runs, and byes, and wides, and no-balls, and overs, and so on. The players bowl, and bat, and field, and catch, and run, and appeal when they fell that a batsman is out. The umpires are there to ensure fair play. They are the to enforce the rules of the game. Everyone would agree that without rules there would be chaos. Not only in cricket game, but in everything in which we, humans, are engaged in. Such is our nature, I sauppose!

The umpires have the specific task of ensuring that the game is played in an orderly and sportsmanlike manner; at the same time seeing to it that players are abiding by the rules of cricket and the rules of competition. The umpires are the ones who make the ruling, and not the players. The captains are to assist the umpires in this respect. Cricket Law # 42 (1) states that it is the responsibility of the captains to ensure that play is conducted within the spirit and traditions of the game. Law # 42 (2) states that the umpires shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play. If either umpire considers an action, not covered in the laws, to be unfair, he shall intervene....

We see then that each group of participants in the game has its designations and its job descriptions. Specific duties are delineated. We follow these guidelines, and we have en enjoyable and "smoothe' cricket match. We do otherwise and we create an atmosphere of chaos and unfriendliness, and unsportsmanlike conduct, and antagonism. These all contribute to spoiling a family day together at the park.

I have noticed that players are becoming increasingly beligerant to umpires in their dissent to decisions which are not in their team's favor. It has reached a point whereby, in some instances, umpires are being threatened with harm, or in the least, being subjected to insults and personal negative inuendos. Things like, " you here for the money but you don't know one f.... about cricket", or "you want money to buy house ", and other degrading remarks. Little do players know that the majority of umpires are giving their services because of their love of the game. I, myself, was an umpire, up to a month ago. I originally decided to become an umpire in order to give back to the game, for the many joys that the game has given me, during my over fifty years as a player. But I made the decision to stop umpiring because I was no longer prepared to subject myself to players' rantings. I know of many more who have ceased to stand in as umpires for this same reason. If this trend continues there would come a time when not too many capable umpires would be available.

How many players are conversant with the laws of cricket, I may ask. At the least, they should have a general idea of the important rules governing plays, not that a more comprehensive knowledge is not helpful! Cricket Law # 42 (18) emphatically addresses any breach of the Spirit of the Game by a player. He is obligated to comply with the instructions of the umpire. The player should desist from criticizing his decisions by word of action,or showing dissent, or generally behaving in a manner which might bring the game into disrepute.

A couple of weeks ago the most dastardly occurence was witnessed by the many cricket fans who turned out to watch a game between two very good teams. I would not say who the teams were. As in all my writings in the past, I try to point out things that are going wrong. I do not try to indict players or teams. And, I would not do that in this article. Back to what happened at the particular match.... The umpire made a decision. After consultation with the other umpire he changed his decision. This brought on a tirade of curses and insults from players and their respective supporters alike. I will not address the merit or demerit of the umpire's decision. All I would say is that we as players should do our job and play the game. We should allow the umpires to do their job: that is be the adjudicators of fair play.

Look guys, we all work very hard during the week. We are burdened with the stresses of everyday life; of bills and taxes and children and house repairs and our boss at the job, and I can go on and on and on. You get the picture! We look forward to Sunday when we can go out onto the cricket field and release some of these tensions. A time when we can take the family out, our wife and children, and mother, and father, and uncle.... Let us not spoil their day. We have brought them to the park to show off our cricketing skills. Let's go out onto the field and perform. Show our ability not our ideosyncracies.

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