Last Friday night at the SACA Neil Dansie Medal dinner I posed the question “What’s happened to the Spirit of Cricket?” I referred to a specific example that caused me concern in a Sheffield Shield match at the Adelaide Oval early this season. My view, a fielder claimed a catch in unacceptable circumstances when the ball had bounced.

Little more than 24 hours after my speech, the Spirit of Cricket lay in tatters in Australia.

For some time, I have been concerned by deteriorating standards of behaviour at all levels of cricket. Sadly, it appears the Spirit of Cricket has been given nothing more than lip service.

The integrity and reputation of our national cricket side is paramount. It should lead the way, but has completely failed us.

No more should we hear expressions such as “we are flat track bullies, we dish it out but can’t handle it in return, boorish Australian players.” This is a watershed moment.

With the support of the SACA Board, CEO Keith Bradshaw, and High Performance Manager Tim Nielsen, we will focus on setting the standard for how cricket should be played in South Australia, from junior levels right through to our senior State teams.

Relentless sledging, abuse, aggressive actions and lack of respect for umpires will not be tolerated. As I said last Friday night regarding continued sledging – “the horse has left the stables and we need to bring back the colt and put on the reins!”

The way cricket is currently being played must change. As enormously disappointing and devastating the ball tampering affair has been, it provides a real opportunity for the Spirit of Cricket to breathe again.

Andrew Sinclair, SACA President.