International cricket touches new low

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India's coach in waiting Gary Kirsten believes that both India and Australia were guilty of some amount of wrongdoing in the Sydney Test.

Updated: February 25, 2008 13:24 IST
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New Delhi:

India's coach in waiting Gary Kirsten believes that both India and Australia were guilty of some amount of wrongdoing in the Sydney Test, while another respectable English newspaper points out that India has been charged with the most number of ICC offences in the last ten years.

That surely raises the question - can cricket continue to be called the gentleman's game?

Sourav Ganguly has been officially sanctioned by the ICC 12 times since 1997, for several infringements - the most for any player in the world.

First he was charged for a slow over rate when he was captain and then there was the case of excessive appealing. But compare it to the ugly scenes between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds or the dubious decision going Australia's way.

It's quite obvious which incidents have come to harm the spirit of the game. Some romantics have no doubt there's only one way to settle cricketing scores.

"If you reply in the same manner, then it doesn't make you a better person, why don't you instead let your bat do the talking," said Tom Alter, actor and former cricket anchor.

Yet, there are some incidents like the Aamir Sohail vs Venkatesh Prasad incident from the 1996 World Cup that has occupied a part of cricketing folklore.

Some experts believe that sledging is integral to the game, however, there is a certain line that shouldn't be crossed.

"There's a certain line you can't cross. When Ponting hits a boundary, he's being a great ambassador for cricket, when he's trying to intimidate the umpire, he's not. You have a lot of people watching, you cannot forget that responsibility. Sledging cannot be replaced, but it must be within limits," said Navjot Singh Sidhu, former India player.

And then there's the view that cricket was in fact, never a gentleman's game. The moniker was just a historical reminder of who controlled the purse strings in the early days of the sport.

"It was only a gentleman's game because there was a lot of royalty that played the game. The real players of the game were blue collared workers, given the opportunity to be professional cricketers," said Anil Dharker, columnist.

The fact remains that since the Oval Test controversy, international cricket has been through a rough patch. Surely, the one thing that make it better is a hard fought cricket match in Perth.

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