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5 Instances when England put ‘Spirit of Cricket’ aside to win matches

Jul 5, 2023

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Stuart Broad Wicket in 2013 Ashes. ( Photo Source: Gettyimages)

After Jonny Bairstow’s controversial dismissal in the second Test of the Ashes 2023, Australia are getting accused of breaching the Spirit of Cricket. Following the wicketkeeper-batter’s stumping, Lord’s crowd came heavily on the Aussie players during lunch on Day 5. The Australian team got booed by the crowd and also faced “cheat” “cheat” chants.

England supporters are accusing Pat Cummins and Co. of destroying the spirit of the game, however, their own team doesn’t have a fine reputation when it comes to maintaining the spirit of cricket. An avid cricket follower can recount several instances when the England cricket team didn’t care about the spirit of cricket.

Here are the five instances when England failed to maintain the spirit of the game

5. England dismisses Henry Nicholls with an unusual catch during the 2022 Test vs NZ

In 2022, England’s home season started with hosting New Zealand for three Tests. After the first two matches, the hosts had taken an unassailable 2-0 lead and in the third Test at Headingley, Leeds, they were looking to showcase their best again and whitewash the Kane Williamson-led team.

New Zealand skipper Williamson won the toss in the match and put his team to bat first. The Kiwi team lost their four batters under the score of 100. However, Henry Nicholls and Daryll Mitchell were trying to take their team out of the difficult situation, maintaining a steady 40-run partnership.

At a score of 123, Nicholls stepped out and played a shot towards the straight boundary, but instead of reaching the boundary rope, the ball hit non-striker Daryl Mitchell’s bat and went to Alex Lees, who was deployed at the mid-off. Following Nicholl’s dismissal, fans attacked the England team for accepting the left-handed New Zealand batter’s dismissal in an unusual manner.

4. Stuart Broad refuses to walk back to the pavilion despite getting caught in the Ashes 2013

After the Bairstow incident, Stuart Broad came to the crease and was caught on a stump mic saying “That’s all you’ll ever be remembered for” to Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey. However, Broad, who doesn’t have a decent image of maintaining gentlemen’s game spirit, received criticism from fans.

Several supporters of the game took to social media sites and posted a clip in which Broad stood at the crease in a Test match against Australia, despite getting caught at slip. The video clip is of the first Test of the 2013 Ashes, when Broad was batting on 37 in the second innings, and got caught by Michael Clarke on Ashton Agar’s delivery. 

On the camera, it could be clearly seen that the ball got a huge edge off the Broad’s bat and then bounced on Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s gloves and finally went to the Aussie captain Clarke. Umpire Aleem Dar refused to raise his finger as he felt the left-handed England batter was not out. However, Broad was well aware of the fact he is clearly out but instead of returning to the pavilion, he decide to hold the crease. Almost after 10 years of the incident, social media users posted Broad’s 2013 video and called him a hypocrite.

3. Stuart Broad and James Anderson tamper the ball during England’s tour of South Africa 2009-10

In January 2010, England speedsters survived a punishment despite getting involved in ball-tampering. During England’s tour of South Africa in 2009-10, Stuart Broad was spotted rolling the ball with shoe spikes. A few moments later, James Anderson was also seen picking at the leather of the ball.

When pictures of both England pacers caught the eyeballs of media and fans, the issue became bigger and the England cricket team saw themselves at the receiving end. During the game, the South Africa team raised concerns through a press conference regarding the actions of England’s pace duo.

Eventually, the Proteas didn’t report the incident to the International Cricket Council (ICC), which in turn led to the closure of the matter. Following the game, Broad defended himself, saying that he got offended after finding himself being implicated in ball-tampering by the South African side.

2. Marcus Trescothick uses mint-induced saliva to shine the ball in the 2005 Ashes

In the 2005 Ashes, England snatched the coveted urn from Australia under Michael Vaughan’s captaincy, beating the Aussies by 2-1. In England’s scintillating victory, England pacers Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, and Simon Jones used reverse swing as a weapon to dominate Australian batters.

After three years of England’s historic win, Marcus Trescothick, who was fierce England’s opener in the competition, released his autobiography ‘Coming Back To Me.’ In his autobiography, Trescothick disclosed that he was given the responsibility to keep the shine of the ball for a longer time with a bit of spit and a lot of polish.

He also admitted that he used mint-induced saliva to keep the shine on the ball. His admission drew a reaction from Damien Fleming, who accused Trescothick of using a strategy that was against the laws of the sport.

1. Michael Atherton ball-tampering against South Africa in 1994

Michael Atherton found himself in the midst of controversy during South Africa’s tour of England in 1994. In the first Test at iconic Lord’s, Atherton, who was the England skipper then, was accused of ball-tampering. In the match, South Africa were in a commanding position after the first innings, earning a 177-run lead.

On Day 3, Atherton took dust from the surface and put it into his pocket. When the ball was thrown towards him, Atherton took out the dust and coated it onto the dry part of the ball before passing it to Darren Gough, who was England’s premier pacer then. Following the incident, pictures came out which corroborated Atherton’s involvement in ball-tampering.

After the conclusion of the over, a sense of chaos erupted among media persons. At the end of the day, Peter Burge, who was the match referee, called Atherton and asked him to give an explanation and the England captain convinced the match referee that he only dried his sweaty hands using dust. However, Atherton failed to convince the England team management later and faced a fine of 2000 pounds.

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