By Sam Sooppersaud
Here we go again. Trust me to coin a new English work: UNCRICKET. Read on and figure out its meaning.

“HOWZAT”, screamed the bowler, wicket keeper and the close-up fieldsman. The umpire, unmoved, said in a calm, audible voice, “not out”. The batsman looked down sheepishly at his bat and gave a concealed smirk. In his mind, “wow, I nicked that one. Hey, I am in luck, the umpire missed the call”. Yes, in this instance the umpire did not get it right. However, his decision was made in all honesty.

Another scenario. “HOWZAT”, came the appeal. The umpire raised his finger signaling that the batsman was out, caught behind. The same batsman, mind you. “What”, you could hear the batsman retorted. “,#@*&%, no, I did not touch the ?%$#@ ball, how can I be out”. He turned his attention to the umpire and gave him some “choice words”. I will not put in print here some of the words that dissenting players lashed out at umpires.

The two scenarios above demonstrate a double standard on the part of that batsman. His responses to both situations are symptomatic of numerous players’ reactions in our local cricket today. They “take the gain” but are displeased to “cut the loss”.  A decision, though wrong goes in your favor, you gloat. A decision not favorably to you, (what do you do!) you “give it to the umpire”. Not the ideal attitude for anyone involved in playing the sport of cricket.
In cricket you “win some and you lose some”.

Traditionally, in the sport, the word CRICKET is interpreted as being “gentlemanliness”. That sense of sportsmanship, camaraderie, and the virtues of fairness. Our words and actions: our mannerism should define our idea of class, (not low class, by the way). Cricketers should emulate “The Spirit Of The Game”. Let us be winners even if we’ve lost the match!

I suppose it is a farfetched “utopianism” to suppose that some of our present day players in our area will adhere to the general principles of cricket, which have made it such an attractive international sporting event. These recalcitrant players take from the game whatever suits their selfish craving . The things that do not satisfy their lust for self-aggrandization, they show utter disdain toward them,

I will now describe two very blatant acts of “player’s dissent” toward the umpire’s decision. As is my customary in my writings, I do not give names of persons involved. My intention is to bring certain situations in to the forefront and not to create any embarrassment on anyone. So, in this article, I would not name any names. But I am positive that the people involved would recognize this fact that we are talking about their behavior and would take corrective actions to put themselves in good standing.

On Sunday, June 15th, 2014, an EACA (Eastern American Cricket Association) scheduled game was played at Baisley Park (The Cage), in Queens, New York. A senior batsman, (not in age, but in experience) was adjudged LBW by the umpire. It was on the first ball that he faced.  He offered no shot, but padded out a ball pitched outside the off stump  but
whipped in sufficiently enough to have crashed into the middle-leg stumps. Upon being given his marching orders, the batsman immediately showed his disdain of the decision. He expressed his views while leaving the playing area.

To worsen the situation, during water break that batsman came on to the field and had a few “choiced” words for  umpire. Let me just say that he was “confrontational”. This was done in the presence of the second umpire in the game. A report was subsequently made to the President of the EACA. Later, a copy of this report was sent to other officials of the EACA. The President, when he had met with the umpire prior to the start of the season, had stated, “all complaint against players will be resolved before the next game”. The game on Sunday, June 29th, would be the second game since the report, and nothing has yet been resolved. In fact, when the umpire contacted the President, he was told that the matter “would be taken care of before  the end of the month”.  Let’s wait and see what happens!

On Saturday, June 28th, I was at The Baisley “Cage” Park watching a Masters game. Again, names would not be named. It was an exciting game. The first side scored 254 runs in their 35 overs. When I left the park, the second side was 84 for 2.

The two openers walked to the wicket to commence the run chase. The first ball was dispatched to the boundary for a 4. Cheering from the large crowd! The third ball rapped the batsman on the pads. “Howzat”, was the shout. The umpire answered the appeal in the affirmative. He ruled the batsman out.  The batsman stood his ground for a period that many at the ground would consider “longer than usual”. He gazed at the ruling umpire. He then left the wicket and came to the sidelines.

What happened next is despicable. The batsman walked back onto the field of play and shouted obscenities at the umpire. You know those “fancy” words. “…you mother @#%$&…”

For a moment one wondered if we were playing cricket or at some other sport where shouting at an umpire is “standard” procedure.  Even teammates were expressing dissatisfaction at their colleague’s actions. The President of the USA Cricket Umpire Association was on hand. He witnessed this “uncricket”  lapse.

There is a large number of youths playing competitive cricket in the various leagues in the Metropolitan area. Some are showing great potential. Some, if handled properly, are heading for national prominence. It is left on the senior cricketers to mold these youth. To “walk the walk with them “.  To nurture them; show them how it’s done by examples. Yes, the seniors have an important responsibility. To help to “grow” our talent. But, they can do this only by doing the right thing.

The Spirit Of The Game …
The Spirit Of The Game…
The Spirit Of The Game ..
Let this be a symphony!