Umpire abuse is ruining cricket
PUBLISHED: 14:48 27 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010
CRICKET: INCIDENTS of bad behaviour on the cricket pitches of Suffolk appear to be on the increase despite stringent efforts by local leagues to improve matters.
INCIDENTS of bad behaviour on the cricket pitches of Suffolk appear to be on the increase despite stringent efforts by local leagues to improve matters.
There were further incidents reported during a Hargreaves Two Counties Championship First Division match last Saturday.
This brought into question whether a local game will soon be subject to powers that came into operation this year to allow umpires to deduct penalty runs from offending sides.
Clubs cannot have runs deducted for verbally abusing umpires – this is a matter where reports have to made and a disciplinary hearing set up which can fine and ban players found guilty. But they can have runs deducted for other indiscretions.
The Two Counties Championship has banned and fined a number of players in the past, and will no doubt not hold back from doing the same in the future.
Players must be made aware of the penalties involved if they overstep the mark. A consequence if behaviour does not improve is that umpires will be lost to the game. And cricket cannot afford that.
Martin White, chairman of the Suffolk Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers, warned: "Abuse of an umpire is totally unacceptable at any level and if that happens the matter should be reported to the league
authority – and the executive of the side concerned – at the first available opportunity.
"Umpires should have no qualms about reporting such matters, although such cases are few and far between.
"Regulations are there in black and white and if the spirit of the game has been seriously contravened, action can be taken against the offender on receipt of a report.
"Players should accept decisions without question, even if they think they have been hard done by.
"Penalty runs do not apply if an umpire is abused, but they can be applied for other offences, such as the distraction of batsmen."
Umpires are only human, and Martin said: "We all make mistakes and no-one is perfect – but that applies to cricketers as well.
"Imagine the scene if an umpire made a derogatory comment when someone dropped a catch, bowled badly or played a poor shot. The players would be far from happy and rightly so. By the same token, umpires should not be openly abused when they make a decision.
"If that sort of thing were to continue, it would lead to a lot of people finding other ways of spending their Saturdays and Sundays, which would not be good for cricket."