Dubai, Sep 7 (UNI) Rejecting the notion that spirit of the 'gentleman's game' has detoriated in recent times, ICC umpires' and referees' manager Vince van der Bijl said the previous generations were just as bad when it came to onfield behaviour.
''I certainly don't think the spirit of the game has worsened, it is just more visible,'' van der Bijl told the Associated Press.
''This is not an excuse for the (poor) behaviour - just reality.
I saw this job as an opportunity to be part of the process to keep the spirit of cricket strong and healthy. What one sees today on TV occurred in the old days, but it was not as visible. Lapses in sportsmanship and aggressive behaviour have been there since the game began, '' he said.
However, the former Middlesex fast bowler felt that fans expect players to be perfect role models, which were a bit unrealistic.
''There is huge pressure on them to be role models. I do believe that the general public want from their sports stars, the perfect human beings,'' he stated.
''Supporters expect players must have tunnel vision and be driven to absolute perfection in their specific art, yet be balanced and broad in their worldly views. Be determined and driven yet caring and sensitive,'' he added.
''Few (people) like this exist. And in reality it is almost impossible to find these kinds of people, other than a (Nelson) Mandela or a (Desmond) Tutu. The pressure for players to be perfect is very high.'' Player behaviour has come under increased scrutiny over the past few months with the ICC expressing concern over detoriating on-field behaviour.
India's tour Down Under earlier this year was a major flashpoint with Andrew Symonds claiming that Harbhajan Singh racially abused him during the Sydney Test in January.
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