After the Trent Bridge Test ended in a deserved victory for India and a welter of media and blog comment about the antics of both sides I decided to take a few days to let the dust settle before commenting about what went on. On Friday, however, The Times published a piece by Simon Barnes (link below) which summed up just about everything I wanted to say.

The incident with the jellybeans received more attention than it deserved (such as the perenially barking Charles Colvile saying on Sky that 'in years to come this will be known as the jellybean Test match') but it was symptomatic of the attitude that leads England players and coaching staff to embrace a culture that values and encourages the abuse of opponents as a valid means of playing the game, apparently for no very good reason other than that Australian sides have often done it. So what. I didn't like it when Shane Warne and, less subtly, Glenn McGrath were doing it, but they did have the advantage of being able to play the game a bit better than any of England's current players. It's a culture that fails to respect opponents and, more fundamentally, fails to respect the game. They don't realise that the game is bigger, much bigger, than any of them, and its fundamentals require respect; when someone else is batting the pitch is their territory. Don't encroach on it, don't try and tamper with it, don't scatter sweets on it.

The same is true of posturing idiots like Matt Prior, who despite still being wet behind the ears in Test cricket persists in telling people how tough it is. Matt, you've done pretty well so far in your six Tests, but you'd be better off trying to get your keeping up to scratch rather than trying to show people how hard you are. A middle stump knocked several yards back by an RP Singh inswinger looks much the same no matter how tough you are.

Peter Moores has made a good start as England coach, but I was very disappointed with his response to what happened at Nottingham, paying little heed to the jellybeans and then suggesting that the stump microphones need to be turned down so that his players can say whatever they want without anybody off the field being able to tell how stupid and inane they are.

Of course, India, and especially Sreesanth, were also guilty of lowering the tone. After his decision to make shoulder-to-shoulder contact with Michael Vaughan and the bouncer which he bowled at Paul Collingwood from several yards down the pitch, he was fortunate to escape with a match fee deduction. I think a one-match suspension would have been more appropriate. The comments of Collingwood himself after the Jimmy Anderson-Runako Morton incident showed that he was unaware that if there's one thing that cricket definitely isn't, it's a physical contact game. If Sreesanth is under a similar misconception he needs to be shown that he's very, very wrong.

The history of Test cricket is littered with players who started their careers well but took their eye off the ball and disappeared from view as soon as they arrived.

That's something that Prior and Sreesanth would do well to remember.

The Simon Barnes article is here.

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