"Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game. Any action which is seen to abuse this Spirit causes injury to the game itself".
In 2000 the MCC put forward a preamble for the rules of cricket, which international was taken on among all levels of cricket. Many times over the years this has been pushed to the limit. Since the 2000 Code was published, MCC has promoted the new Laws - and the Spirit of Cricket - as widely as possible, both in Britain and overseas. As a result, cricketers, right across the world, are increasingly aware that they should not merely obey the game's Laws but safeguard its Spirit.
The current Pakistan series being played here on neutral ground is a great example of this spirit. With Pakistan now nomads of the cricket world, not only have the MCC and Lords opened its doors for this team, that is bursting with young talent, but the MCC and ‘The Spirit of Cricket’ are sponsoring the 4 test series involving Australia and England. And the beginning of yesterdays match showed a strong competitive start to the series, with Pakistan gaining advantage with a lovely display of swing bowling, like days of old making the ball ‘talk’ inside and out. Yet there were some in the media that were quick to pounce on the dismissal of Ricky Ponting by Ammer. A fiery battle that had both men looking to gain the upper had as the over’s mounted, Pakistan moving a man in close on the leg side and Aamer threatening Ponting with short pitch balls.
Eventually Ponting succumbed to the tactic, flicking a ball into the waiting grasp at short leg, following taking the prized wicket of an Australian captain, Aamer leapt in the air and once again similar to a incident during the T20 bumped into Ponting, who in reaction made a little elbow room for himself, before making a comment to Umpire Rudi and a few chosen words for Aamer. Many in the media jumped all over this as a poor display of ‘Spirit’ and looked at the match referee Chris Broad to fine Ponting. The Australian captain a feisty player ever since debut, and in my eyes did nothing wrong and no damage was done, Chris Broad has acted sensibly in having a quiet word to Aamer about his leaping down the pitch celebration and will let the matter go. Sensational English public were looking for match pay deductions from Ponting, yet this is the group that is quick squeal about the boringness of characters in cricket and where has the competitive nature gone. Ricky Ponting felt it was over the top, he made his voice heard on the pitch and both players showed great spirit in leaving it where it was on the square. The spirit asks that you play hard, but fair and both sides gave a good account of this on the opening day of the series.