Can spirit of the game be at variance with laws of the game?

Tue, Mar 26, '19

by HARSHA BHOGLE

Commentary

Tempers are frayed, allegations are made, motives are assigned, voices are shouted down and everyone is in a tizzy. You would think someone had been assaulted, swindled or waylaid. And, in a manner of speaking, you wouldn't be wrong because we are talking about the spirit of our game, that wonderfully fuzzy, subjective thing that everyone defines differently.

So, should Ashwin have run Buttler out? Should Buttler have been more vigilant? Was Ashwin devious and Buttler robbed? Was Ashwin clever and Buttler defeated? Did Ashwin violate the spirit of the game? Ah, the spirit of the game! It is something so dear to cricket lovers that there is actually a preamble to the laws of cricket that specifically addresses this. It talks about respect, towards teammates and opponents and the umpires; it talks about playing hard and fair and accepting the umpire's decision, about creating a positive atmosphere through each player's conduct. And more on those lines.

But can the spirit of the game be at variance with the laws of the game? Since both are drafted by the same entity, you would assume that playing within the laws of the game would assume you are playing in the spirit of the game. So when Ashwin ran Buttler out, was he within the laws of the game? And within its spirit?

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