At some point, you must have played some sort of sport, be it football, basketball, baseball, or cricket. Of all sports, only cricket is known as ‘a gentleman’s game’.
This got me thinking. So, I dug deeper and found the answer.
And here in this article, I will tell you why cricket is called a gentleman’s game.
Cricket: A Gentleman’s Game
As you know, cricket originated in England in the 17th century. The sport was popular among the upper-class people in England.
Cricket was exclusively played by these upper-class people/aristocrats, and such people were referred to as ‘Gentlemen’. That’s how cricket got the esteemed term — a gentleman’s game.
That’s it? No, there’s more to it.
When these gentlemen were playing cricket, there was no technology like the Decision Review System (DRS) or Hawk-Eye Technology. So if a batter slightly edged a ball into the keeper’s hand and the umpire didn’t raise the finger, the batter would simply walk off, keeping his moral high.
Such an honest act earned a lot of praise from fans and opponents alike. This turned out to be a stepping stone, as many started to follow such an unwritten moral code of ethics.
During that time, fair play was given utmost importance over winning a match by hook or crook. This sportsmanship demanded that every player maintain a high standard of conduct on the field.
Also Read | What is Umpire’s Call in DRS Decisions?
Is Cricket still ‘A Gentleman’s Game’?
Yes, to some extent. The ‘moral code of ethics’ from the past got a new term in the modern game called — Spirit of Cricket.
I am sure you must have heard this term a lot, especially in recent times. In the 2000s, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of the game, revised the Laws of Cricket and added the Spirit of Cricket preamble, upholding sportsmanship values.
The preamble expects everyone involved in the game to not only play by the laws but also uphold the Spirit of Cricket. The Spirit of Cricket includes some sports ethics, like:
- Self-discipline is must
- Always play hard and fair
- Accept the decision of the umpire
- Respecting every player and match official
- Thank the match officials and opponent players after the match
- Applaud the opposition on their success and cherish the victories of your own team
Now you must be wondering: Does anyone follow this? Yes, most of the players abide by this and continue to play within the Spirit of Cricket.
Remember when Sachin Tendulkar was wrongly given out by umpire Steve Bucknor on many occasions? But Sachin never showed his dissent and accepted the final decision given by the on-field umpire.
And it’s rare to find such qualities in a player these days, where tempers are always high during a game.
Cricket has always upheld these gentlemanly values throughout the years and will continue to do so. Fair play is at the core of this beautiful sport, and every player, be it a batter, bowler, or fielder, should always strive to stay true to this.