Spirit of Cricket is a preamble to the Laws of Cricket. It was first introduced when the code of conduct in cricket was revised in 2000.
Ted Dexter and Lord Colin Cowdrey were former captains of the English cricket side. They went on to become distinguished members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). The idea of Spirit of Cricket was an initiative by Dexter and Cowdrey.
The preamble was first published in the laws that were published in 2000. The preamble read:
“Cricket owes much of its appeal and enjoyment to the fact that it should be played not only according to the Laws, but also within the Spirit of Cricket. The major responsibility for ensuring fair play rests with the captains, but extends to all players, match officials and, especially in junior cricket, teachers, coaches and parents.”
The preamble further emphasises on respecting the sport, captain, teammates, opponents and umpires. It also states that final decisions made by the umpires have to be respected all the time. Furthermore, playing hard, fair, showcasing self-discipline and encouraging others to play in a positive atmosphere must be advocated. Finally, after the match, congratulating and thanking the opponents, teammates and umpires by shaking hands uplifts the decorum of the game.
Spirit of Cricket ensures that the set Code of Conduct is followed by the players irrespective of their nationality, culture and religion. Any on-field or off-field action done within the laws of the game satisfies the Spirit of Cricket.
In modern times, Spirit of Cricket came into play during the controversy on Non-striker’s Run Out. While some say it is not in the Spirit of Cricket, it is well within the rules and laws of the MCC. Thus, the notion of Spirit of Cricket often becomes emotional and personal, disallowing the players ability to judge what is within or outside the Laws of Cricket.