Obviously there’s a fair amount of negative commentary about cricket in Australia at the moment: ball tampering, playing bans, sledging, win-at-all-cost attitudes and the effect that this has on up and coming players. It makes it very easy to succumb to a pretty negative feeling about the sport, and it’s future. However, there are bright spots that need to be celebrated.
My daughter, Evelyn, has been playing cricket for a few years, and even made the U15 Western Australian State Team. She’s progressing through the early stages of her cricket journey, and is coming into contact with many different players and attitudes.
Recently she was playing in a trial league that the WACA has been experimenting with, as a bridge for young girls between the relatively calm community cricket games and the more demanding Grade Cricket matches. The teams in this league are made up of 13-16 year old girls, gaining experience playing on turf.
In a recntt game, the opposition were quite aggressive in their “sledging”, using very strong language, and attacking some of the girls personally while they were batting. It would have been preferrable for the umpires to stop this behaviour outright. That didn’t happen however, and so Evelyn’s team were discussing how to react.
There were some girls that were suggesting to fight fire with fire, but the captain, Olivia, made a strong point to everyone that no team she played in would play cricket that way, that it wasn’t how she wanted to play, and that it wasn’t part of the “Spirit of Cricket”.
As a parent, and a cricket lover, it was great to hear that sentiment coming from a 15 year old girl. Remembering it now, in light of recent events, gives me some hope that the game can reclaim some of it’s more sedate roots.