Cricket is a game of frankly puzzling social contexts. A sport invented by farm labourers, adopted by the ruling classes and now the sport of Middle England. Yet regardless of its history, cricket still represents a major section of British sport, and its showpiece event is undoubtedly the Ashes. This year, the series begins on 8th July and is set to end in late August.
Played between England and Australia every other year, the historic event attracts thousands of cricket fans to various cricket grounds across the country. This year’s series will be no different and so it is important to remember cricketing protocol.
Cricket has long been seen as a game for gentlemen and maintains the values of fair play and sportsmanship. This year is no different, with the Australian cricket board writing to every member of their squad forbidding the practise of ‘sledging’, whereby the fielding team uses verbal insults to put off the opposing batsmen.
This type of gamesmanship however can also periodically extend to the stands and supporters should be aware that abusive remarks, chants or banners directed at any player or fellow spectator is out of place in the modern game, and indeed, always has been.
However matters of cricketing etiquette usually stem from other areas, such as dress code, singing and the consumption of food and drink. In the terraces there is no set dress code and nowadays inventive and colourful dress in often encouraged. However, those attending a match in an executive box or from the confines of the exclusive pavilion, such as the one at Lords, are generally expected to wear at least a collared shirt and slacks, often with a jacket and tie.
As for singing and chanting, again the location is all-important. From inside the terraces, vocal support is encouraged (in moderation) so long as it is not whilst the bowler is making his run up, whereas within the pavilion applause is the most acceptable form of appreciation.
Unlike other sports such as football, cricket spectators are permitted to consume alcohol whilst watching the match. However, all beverages must be purchased at the ground and excessive consumption is prohibited and the club bar has the right to stop serving spectators who are believed to be rowdy.
Further advice on this event – or any other event in the Season – can be obtained on request from The English Manner (www.theenglishmanner.com).