When England fast bowler Jofra Archer hit Australia’s Steve Smith on the neck during the second Ashes test match, the bowler walked back as the batsman lay on the ground.
Other England players came in to check on the floored Smith while the Australia team physio came in to see if the batsman was okay.
Moments later, the cameras caught Archer laughing with his teammate Jos Buttler as Smith - who was later forced out of the second test and is also out of the third test - received medical attention.
That reaction brought social media into a meltdown as many did not find Archer walking back and laughing right while many also questioned why he didn’t go up to Smith to check on him.
Jofra however did speak on the matter and said to the BBC, “To see him go down, everyone stopped and everyone's heart skipped a beat.”
"After he got up and he was moving around, you breathe a sigh of relief. No-one wants to see anyone getting carried off on a stretcher," the fast bowler added.
So let’s try to analyse if what Archer did was deserving of the criticism he has gotten from certain quarters so far by first talk about the origins of the ‘Spirit of Cricket' and the laws it has.
The origins of ‘Spirit of Cricket’
In the late 1990s, two distinguished MCC member (and ex-England captains), Ted Dexter and Lord Colin Cowdrey, sought to enshrine the 'Spirit of cricket' in the game's laws.
This would remind players of their responsibility for ensuring that cricket is always played in a truly sportsmanlike manner.
The Dexter/Cowdrey initiative proved successful. When the current Code of Laws was introduced, in 2000, it included, for the first time, a Preamble on the Spirit of Cricket.
As it says: "Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game. Any action which is seen to abuse this Spirit causes injury to the game itself".
The Preamble goes on to explain the roles and responsibilities of captains, players and umpires in respecting and upholding the Spirit of Cricket.
Since the 2000 Code was published, MCC has promoted the new Laws - and the Spirit of Cricket - as widely as possible, both in Britain and overseas. As a result, cricketers, right across the world, are increasingly aware that they should not merely obey the game's Laws but safeguard its Spirit.
Understanding its laws
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.
Respect is central to the Spirit of Cricket.
Respect your captain, team-mates, opponents and the authority of the umpires.
Play hard and play fair.
Accept the umpire’s decision.
Create a positive atmosphere by your own conduct, and encourage others to do likewise.
Show self-discipline, even when things go against you.
Congratulate the opposition on their successes, and enjoy those of your own team.
Thank the officials and your opposition at the end of the match, whatever the result.
So was Archer right or wrong?
It really isn’t a simple answer as many have been saying.
Firstly, a fast bowler could just be in the zone and just walk back to his bowling mark and secondly and more importantly, there was no clear intention of disrespecting the batsman from Steve Smith.
Archer would have certainly been given a fine or a demerit point if the umpires or the match referee thought so, especially if they deemed that he was laughing at Smith after flooring him.
Law 41.6 in MCC’s cricket law book details on dangerous short-pitched bowling and it states it is down to the bowler’s end umpire to decide if the bowling is dangerous or with ill intent.
If that is the case, then the umpire may warn the bowler, call further such deliveries as no balls, or even suspend the bowler from bowling.
So it was certainly down to the umpires to decide and dictate matters here and as long as they found Archer’s actions fine and without ill intent, it would not be entirely right to assume that he had any.
Archer certainly won’t be winning brownie points for playing the game in the highest ‘Spirit of Cricket’ but he also won’t be getting fined, or demerit points for his actions.