Yesterday was an unfortunate but inevitable day for cricket.

Yellow and red cards will be trialled in England at club, university and school level next season to stop poor behaviour.

The move seems drastic but cricket has dealt with reprobates mouthing off or getting into altercations for too long.

Five games were abandoned in England last season.


Threatening an umpire, assault, racism and deliberate beamers come under the brief.

The problem starts at international level with its regular footage of intimidation. There seems to be a perception the International Cricket Council's spirit of cricket award, won by New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum last year, is a booby prize for those who can't handle vitriol.

Take Australian all-rounder John Hastings' quote about New Zealand to a radio station yesterday: "They want to be the big spirit of cricket in the ICC, but when it comes down to it, with a big series on the line, you're obviously going to take that one aren't you?"

It's as though the concepts of 'winning' and 'spirit of the game' are mutually exclusive in some players' worlds.

Many cricketers have probably had a crack at sledging at some stage, be it through seeking acceptance from peers or faux cleverness drawn from mob courage. It can leave a hollow feeling.

Celebrated acts like Michael Holding kicking over the stumps, the Monkeygate saga between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, or Michael Clarke telling James Anderson to "get ready for a broken f****** arm" all sully the game.

It's labelled 'the heat of the moment' and there's often a reference to a mythical 'line' which can be 'challenged but not crossed', but that reasoning is just an excuse to condone a lack of self control.

Temperament is a basic cricketing tenet.

Players should not feel compelled to be role models - is there such a thing given humans' capacity for diversity in values and behaviour? - but engaging in some form of decorum on the field can't be that hard.

The next impressionable generation is on its way, and what do they see? Mitchell Marsh morphing into the Incredible Hulk and mouthing an oath when it became obvious he was out in the deciding Chappell-Hadlee one-dayer. Sometimes you've just got to accept the good (a $1 million cheque into the Indian Premier League after his man-of-the-match performance in Wellington) with the bad (a replay on the big screen proving you're a-goner when you thought you'd dodged a dismissal).

Resorting to punitive measures is a shame, but on this occasion it appears warranted. Sometimes cricketers, particularly with the baubles of adulation at the top level, think they are bigger than the game.

No one, from Grace to Bradman to Hobbs to Sobers to Richards to Warne, has achieved that feat.

Just watch this trial gain traction.