Cricket is not cricket anymore

As recounted on his Salisbury Review blog, Dalrymple recently served as umpire at a local cricket match – until he realized the rules had changed since he last played:

I was told that in this cricket league a rule had been made against sledging, and that a player could be sent off the field by the umpire for indulging in it. No doubt this is all to the good; but it seemed to me that if anything proved the horrible deterioration in the English character, the necessity for such a rule was it. In the days when I played a little cricket – not much, I could never take any sport sufficiently seriously to be any good at it – we played to win, but not at the expense of ungentlemanly conduct. There were no rules against sledging because the thing itself did not exist; and not only did it not exist, but we could not even have conceived of it existing. As for the notion of an umpire sending a player off the field for bad behaviour – in two words, as Sam Goldwyn used to say, im possible.

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