MCC chairman condemns abuse
MCC cricket chairman Mike Griffith has condemned the abuse, in all its ugly forms, local umpires are subjected to from players while conducting their duties in the middle.
The former Sussex captain, who currently sits on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary committee, doesn't take kindly to the deteriorating disciplinary standards among players and said everything must be done to uphold “fair play” and the spirit of the game.
Earlier this month the Premier 50 Over matches between Devonshire and Willow Cuts at Devonshire Rec. and Bailey's Bay and Cuts at Sea Breeze Oval were abandoned after the umpires came under heavy verbal abuse from players.
Griffith said bad behaviour in cricket is totally “unacceptable”.
“If it's got to that state then things are serious and nobody is going to support this game if you behave like this,” Griffith told The Royal Gazette. “No one is going to come and watch; the spectators are not interested in constant and overly aggressive and abuse of the umpire. It's not how we want cricket to be played.”
Griffith fears that constant abusive behaviour from players could discourage people from becoming umpires, which in turn could have a crippling effect on the sport.
“In the recreation game you can't have a game without the umpires and the umpires are simply going to say 'I'm not interested in being an umpire if I'm going to get constant abuse',” he added. “Therefore the players should understand they won't have a game if they can't have an umpire.”
Griffith, whose late father Stewart was the first player to score a maiden first class century (140) for England and the only player to do so on debut, said it's important for coaches to understand and teach their players the distinction between aggressive play and intimidating play.
“You are not a better player by being overly aggressive or abusive,” he said. “In fact, it often distracts you from what you are trying to do which is trying to play the game.
“We have examples where there's an appeal for an lbw and all the players converge on the umpire and double appealing where they appeal and reappeal and all of that is unacceptable. It is not in the spirit of the game and must be stopped.”
The former English County cricketer applauds Bermuda Cricket Board's efforts to curb deteriorating disciplinary standards but stressed the importance of consistency when it comes to handling disciplinary cases.
“I think you have to come down hard but what we find is that you have to be consistent,” he said. “You can't ban someone for five matches and another person for one match.
“You have to be consistent because the players won't respect the disciplinary procedure unless it's consistent.”