For the first time ever, a member of the esteemed Marylebone Cricket Club was ejected from Lord’s on Saturday after verbally abusing high-profile Australian cricketer Steve Smith.
The incident took place after Smith was caught LBW by Chris Woakes during Australia’s first innings, shortly after he had re-entered the field following treatment for concussion – having been struck by a 92.4mph delivery by England pace bowler Jofra Archer.
With 92 runs under his belt, Smith left the field and headed towards the Lord’s long room – described by cricket writer Laurence Booth as the ‘most evocative four walls in world cricket’ in his book Arm-ball to Zooter.
According to witnesses, as per The Cricketer, it was here that the verbal abuse took place.
The individual, as yet unidentified, called Smith a ‘cheat’ and a ‘disgrace’ – a clear reference to the 2018 ball-tampering scandal which lost Smith his Test, ODI and T20I captaincies.
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In March last year, during Australia’s third Test match against South Africa, Smith was caught on television cameras overseeing teammate Cameron Bancroft’s attempts to use sandpaper to alter the flight of the ball. He served a one-year ban from cricket for his part in the scandal.
This incident of verbal abuse comes just three months after the Marylebone Cricket Club introduced a new code of conduct, with the explicit aim of preventing ‘abusive, discriminatory or inappropriate behaviour or language’.
At the organisation’s May AGM, it was decided that harsher sanctions were ‘both timely and necessary’ to discourage abusive behaviour within cricket. At the AGM, club members voted overwhelmingly in favour of policies that would see those found guilty of such behaviour expelled or suspended from the club.
And now, an MCC member has already become the first to fall foul of these guidelines – a fact which raises further concerns about the continued presence of abusive behaviour in the sport.
Although Marylebone Cricket Club have not yet offered comment, the Australian Cricketers’ Association released a statement addressing the treatment of Steve Smith by cricket fans.
They said: "Cricket deserves much better than that. And Lord’s, the home of cricket, deserves much better than that also. Surely it is time to move forward."News Now - Sport News