Modern sports often come under fire for the way they are played. From match-fixing to diving, cheating and throwing games now seems commonplace across all sports, and even the likes of badminton has seen very high-profile cases of people trying to cheat their way to the top.
Unfortunately, it is becoming a vicious circle of sorts, with children seeing their favourite sports personalities cheating and in turn choosing to copy their antics in their own games. Yet, whilst all children want to win, and whilst the majority will be happy to win by any means, a shift in focus will be important to ensure that these childish follies do not carry through into sporting careers later in life.
As such, it is important that those playing cricket today are extremely good role models for the young. Winning should be seen as a wonderful bonus not the be all and end all of playing sports. And since cricket has such a huge appeal across the world and is a game that lasts much longer than many other sporting events, it may also be the perfect sport through which to promote good sportsmanship to a whole new generation.
The key to winning should be seen to be practice and focus on the game, as opposed to simply getting away with being underhand. Owning the right cricket bat and learning how to use it will be far more rewarding than simply getting away with cheating, and making sure that honour is rewarded as much as victory will be integral in promoting such sportsmanship to younger players.
The more we focus on sportsmanship and how individuals play the game, the better the sport will be in the future, and the better other sports may become in turn. As such, when training younger children, the focus should be on the importance of good quality cricket bats and practice, as opposed to winning at all costs.