Heather Knight calls for removal of 'Spirit of Cricket' from Preamble of Laws of Cricket

“The preamble is well-meaning but wishy-washy: no one really knows what it is," Heather Knight said.

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Heather Knight
Heather Knight. (Photo Source: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

England captain Heather Knight said that there the Spirit of Cricket should be removed from the Preamble in the Laws of Cricket. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) added a Preamble to the Laws of Cricket in 2000, where they outlined their vision of the Spirit of Cricket.

“Respect is central to the Spirit of Cricket,” insists the Preamble before mentioning the points mentioned below.

– Respect your captain, team-mates, opponents and the authority of the umpires.
– Play hard and play fair.
– Accept the umpire’s decision.
– Create a positive atmosphere by your own conduct, and encourage others to do likewise.
– Show self-discipline, even when things go against you.
– Congratulate the opposition on their successes, and enjoy those of your own team.
– Thank the officials and your opposition at the end of the match, whatever the result.

Knight spoke about the confusion regarding the Spirit of Cricket from the Preamble. She also touched upon the different interpretations of the Spirit of Cricket in different parts of the world, mainly stemming from cultural differences.

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“The preamble is well-meaning but wishy-washy: no one really knows what it is. I also think it’s been used to vilify people who are perceived to be in breach of the Spirit of Cricket when they’re only following the Laws of the game," Knight explained in the 2024 Wisden Almanack.

“Too often, the Spirit of Cricket is a grey area, especially as it gets interpreted differently in different parts of the world. When that happens, it can become a divisive issue: one culture’s view of what constitutes it won’t necessarily be another’s," she added.

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The seasoned cricketer asserted that she remains a supporter of sporting spirit in the game. However, from her personal experiences, she has understood that it is easier to explain this aspect without the help of the Preamble.

“Of course, there’s a place for sportsmanship in the game, for how you behave and for the respect you show to umpires and opponents. When I’ve visited primary schools and explained this idea to children, they do get it. But I’m not convinced the preamble helps. In fact, there’s a case for getting rid of it altogether," Knight stated.

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