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England cricket team (Photo/ ICC Twitter)
England cricket team (Photo/ ICC Twitter)

With 12 code of conduct breaches in last 3 years, England in danger of crossing dreaded 'win-at-all-cost' line

By Vishesh Roy | Updated: Mar 15, 2021 15:36 IST

New Delhi [India], March 15 (ANI): Days after the infamous 'Sandpaper Gate' rocked Australian cricket, then skipper Steve Smith had spoken about the 'win at all costs' culture which saw the team being told that nothing meant more than winning for the boys -- even if that meant crossing the line of fair play.
While Cricket Australia has undergone a complete changeover and the focus under coach Justin Langer and skippers Tim Paine (Test) and Aaron Finch (limited-overs) has been to play in line with the gentleman's spirit, what comes as a surprise is the number of times the English team has found itself on the wrong side of the line in the last three years.
The on-field behaviour of cricketers has in recent times come under severe scrutiny as television cameras and stump microphones pick every banter and verbal duel on the field of play. While some see the level of competition hitting a new high and giving fans exhilarating moments to cherish, others lead to Code of Conduct breaches.
The stakes are higher as the passion isn't restricted to just the 22 players on the field. Even fans don't wish to give away an inch and bragging rights play a huge role just not in the stands, but also on social media. And that can sometimes lead to a 'win at all cost' approach.
In a revealing stat as per ICC's official website, it has surfaced that England has recorded the most number of Code of Conduct breaches in the last three years. Since the start of April 2018, England has recorded 12 breaches of ICC's Code of Conduct and among these, James Anderson, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow have violated the rules on two occasions each.
Pacer Stuart Broad has violated the Code of Conduct on three different occasions. This is the most number of violations by any player and this is quite a shock as the veteran plays just one format of the game (Tests).
In August 2020, Broad saw 15 per cent of his match fee being deducted as he directed an inappropriate word at Pakistan's Yasir Shah after dismissing him. Earlier, in January 2020, Broad had seen a 15 per cent deduction in match fees after he went up to South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis and used inappropriate language which was caught by the stump mic.
In the same year, Ben Stokes directed obscene and offensive language towards spectators after being dismissed and he also saw his match fees being deducted. Most of England's violations have been considered as a Level 1 offence. Only, Jason Roy has once been found guilty of breaching a Level 2 offence.
In the 2019 Cricket World Cup semi-final against Australia, Roy expressed dissent after being given caught behind and this was considered to be a Level 2 offence.
On the other hand, the Australia boys who had quite a reputation of sometimes using unruly measures to get under the opposition's skin, have successfully managed to change their standing after the 'Sandpaper Gate'.
Since the fiasco in South Africa in 2018, Australia has breached the Code of Conduct just twice and it is a testament that Langer, Paine and Finch have been successful in getting Australia to play the game in accordance with the gentleman's spirit.
These two breaches are the lowest number recorded by any team (tied with Afghanistan, Ireland, and Pakistan) after the Sandpaper Gate episode. If matches after the Sandpaper Gate are to be taken into consideration, India has breached ICC's Code of Conduct on five occasions.
India's latest ICC Code of Conduct breach was recorded in September 2019 after skipper Virat Kohli made avoidable shoulder contact while taking a run with the Proteas bowler Beuran Hendricks. This was considered to be a Level 1 offence and Kohli was reprimanded for the act. (ANI)