Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.

What the Spirit of Cricket is Not

I’ve mentioned this a few times before, but I’m not a big fan of the slippery slope of the “spirit of the game”. If you want to play the game that way, by all means, be my guest. My problem is when we start expecting it.

I could write more, but Andy Bull and Greg Baum have done a better job.


It is permissible for a batsman to stand his ground if he knows he has touched the ball, but it is a sin for a fielder to claim a catch that has touched the ground. It is against the spirit to “dispute an umpire’s decision by word, action or gesture,” but the DRS now encourages players to do exactly that.

As the Guardian has proven, it is often easier to point out what the spirit of cricket is not than what it is.


If the spirit of cricket is so sacred, some asked, why did not the close England fieldsmen recall Harbhajan? The answer is that there is no absolute standard, merely a set of conventions. It is acceptable, for instance, for a batsman to stand his ground when he knows for a fact that he is out, but abhorrent for a fieldsmen to claim a catch about which he is unsure. And that’s before we get to Vaseline.

What I wrote after India lost the first Test:

In professional sport, there is only one measure of “better”– it’s not who got more points, or got more yards, or carried themselves with more dignity, or who was “winning” for the majority of the game. Ironically, being “a good sport” usually means you’re losing.

My call– play tough, play by the rules and always play to win.



I tried looking for a single quote to pull from this awesome Kartikeya Date article on the blame game in cricket, but I can’t. The whole thing is just too good. Go read.

As I alluded to at the end of my Trent Bridge song video, blaming BCCI without any additional legwork is the laziest trick in the book.

The Trent Bridge Test, in Song

As you know, I’m writing and performing a song about each Test in the India v. England series. Here is the one for the Lord’s Test. Without further ado, here is song two:

That’s a digital banjo and funk beats. And here are the lyrics (though I improvized to match the beat, so they are not precise):

Sreesanth and Ishant, having tea for two
Praveen joined in while the bounce was still true
By tea, they got England on a plate
How you gonna win a game from 120 for 8?

Hey Stewie Broad, you might not be aware
They call you Barbie on Twitter, that just don’t seem fair
‘Cause your batting like Beefy and bowling like him too
Though India’s chasing really well at 117 for two.

Hey Mr. Dravid, show a little rage
That you’re payin bills at your advanced age
VVS and Yuvraj tried to do their part
But that swinging ball from Stewie Broad was rippin’ it apart.

Let’s get that run out, out of the way
Bell was an idiot, to walk away
Dhoni held up the spirit of the game
Was he a sucker for Flower mind games.

Ian Bell batted on, and on and on
And on and on and on and on
India went on to promptly collapse
Maybe ’cause they wanted day 5 to relax

Hey Mr. Dhoni, what you gonna do?
You and your boys look like you haven’t got a clue
Tell you the truth, you don’t look like #1
Cause your team’s out there playing like it’s 1991