We are used to cricket matches being abandoned because of adverse weather but for a game to be abandoned because of excess sledging, bordering on bullying, is another thing altogether.
However, this is exactly what happened in a New Zealand club cricket final recently.
The decision to abandon the Bidwell Cup final came when Greytown Cricket Club decided enough was enough as they felt opponents Lansdowne had over stepped the mark in their match played at the Queen Elizabeth Park Oval in Masterton on the North Island.
Chasing 130 to win, but floundering on 36-6 Greytown decided to call it quits at tea time after a number of their players were reportedly close to tears because of the abuse they had received form their opponents. Lansdowne were awarded the victory but in the circumstances it was nothing to celebrate.
Is this single game a reflection of cricket in general across the World?
From club cricket to international career we all know it goes on and can be, at times, a rather comical interlude to the match itself. Indeed some players use it to try and gain an advantage over their opponents whilst others use it as a motivational tool for their own game. However, there have been times when so-called sledging can get out of hand and the line between general banter and personal verbal attack can be over-stepped.
Sledging has been going on for many years. The Australians are branded as the first international team to use these tactics to gain the upper-hand on their opponents. The Aussies call it mental disintegration but it can be much more than that. Nobody knows what is going on in the minds of individuals on the receiving end and sledging can sometimes tip them over the edge.
England’s Jonathan Trott suffered sledging during the last Ashes series when he was woefully out of form after being bombarded by Aussie pace bowler Mitchell Johnson. It was not until the England batsmen went home citing mental problems that the abuse he received was put into context. Sledging is used as a weapon on the field but there is no telling what long-lasting affects there are after the game has finished.
Has sledging gone too far now? Will this incident prove to be an eye-opener for those in charge of our game?
Cricketers seem to accept sledging on the cricket field so is it now time for the authorities, especially the on-field umpires, to stamp it out when it is in danger of getting out of hand.
If this incident in New Zealand does not spark outrage across the cricketing World then it may take a player at international level to walk from the field of play in order to prompt action from the powers that be.
What has happened to our so-called gentlemen’s game?
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