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How The ‘Spirit Of Cricket’ Is Implemented Into The Rules Of The Game

How The ‘Spirit Of Cricket’ Is Implemented Into The Rules Of The Game
Friday, 22 October 2021 By Anujaya Krishna

The ‘spirit of cricket’ means different things to different people.[1] Broadly, the concept is manifested in the game in two ways.  First, the legal/regulatory implementation – specific rules requiring participants to uphold the spirit of game and not bring it into disrepute, that result in disciplinary sanctions if violated. A good example is ‘Sandpaper-gate’, a moniker for the infamous ball-tampering incident in the Test match between Australia and South Africa in 2018. The incident snowballed and the players concerned were not only subjected to action by the ICC and their cricket board but also banned from participating in the Indian Premier League, and required to relinquish their respective captaincy roles.[2]  The second is the broader, intangible notion of sportsmanship and fair play inherent in all sport, perhaps best illustrated in cricket by the iconic photograph[3] showing England player Andrew Flintoff putting a hand on Australian player Brett Lee’s shoulder,[4] as a dejected Lee sits on the pitch, England having won the second Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 2005 by 2 runs despite the heroics from the Australian team.[5]

This article will focus on the first aspect of the ‘spirit of cricket’, and explain how the concept is formally incorporated into the laws of the game.  It will then examine some interesting cases and common scenarios to explore how the rules and broader concept apply in practice.  Specifically, it looks at:

  • The laws of cricket on spirit and fairplay
    • MCC Laws
    • ICC Handbook
    • ICC Code of Conduct
  • Examples and scenarios
    • Sandpaper-gate
    • Fake fielding
    • Mankading

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Anujaya Krishna

Anujaya Krishna

Anujaya Krishna is a legal professional and sports enthusiast based out of India. She has been associated with the Sports Law team at Duane Morris and Selvam LLP, Singapore. She has authored a book entitled Sports Law and most recently got published in the Handbook on Sports Law. She has been keenly interested in Sports Law since her college days, and has several publications to her credit, in national journals as well as in international ones, such as the journal of the International Association of Sports Law, Greece.
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