State Library of South Australia

Opinion: Cricketers must toe the line or face penalties

THERE was much debate last week regarding the so-called "homework" not handed in by four Australian cricketers.

Personally I was gobsmacked at the attitude of the majority of the population towards this issue.

The sneering, popularist opinion was incredibly dismissive and condemning of the actions of coach Mickey Arthur and captain Michael Clarke.

Headlines portraying the players as schoolkids were commonplace, with Arthur in particular playing the role of despotic headmaster. The incident was taken entirely out of context.

You don't have to possess the omniscience of a pope to have an inkling that things are crook within the team, not the least of which is an inability to win a Test on the subcontinent.

But, the days where a deep and meaningful over a brewery full of beers giving way to truth and enlightenment have all but disappeared.

Sure, the method has its place, but should not be defaulted to when problems arise.

Perhaps this was the case in the "good old days" so mistily recalled by many former cricketers who have worn the baggy green, but not importantly by two of our most successful in Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor.

Times have changed. Examination, analysis and self-reflection are part and parcel of professional sport nowadays.

Players are required to analyse their future opposition as a matter of course and equally need to review their own performance and attitude.

In our football codes players often receive thumb drives following a game, on them a myriad of information that they are expected to review and have an opinion on.

And the same applies to professional cricket - surely they don't honestly believe the computer they receive is merely to play the latest version of Tour of Duty or to skype faraway loved ones!?

This would have been part of a strategy not a one-off, isolated request to punish or take the gloss off a three-day break.

The players who failed to complete the task, and let's not forget 75% of them did, were quite rightly punished with the loss of something they should hold dear - a Test match.

A mere 433 men have worn the fabled baggy green from number one Charles Bannerman in 1877 through to Glenn Maxwell who made his debut in the second Test in Hyderabad.

With selection, comes the responsibility of representing the 350,000 men, women and kids who play the game every year and others who support them. It's simple: show discipline or suffer the consequences.

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