England cricket was rocked by a major scandal earlier this year when a county player for Worcestershire, Alex Hepburn was held guilty of rape and given a 5-year prison sentence. Text messages shared between Hepburn and a couple of his teammates revealed what a lecherous and lewd bunch they were.
Following this, Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) decided to take action and make the players more aware of their responsibilities and good conduct. Backed by extra funding from England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), PCA has organised workshops for both male and female players on sexual consent, part of their personal development and welfare program.
England's captain in limited-overs format Eoin Morgan spoke about the workshops and its value.
"If you see something going on that potentially has consequences, I think as a senior player in the group that I would certainly be willing to confront that, whatever it was at the time, but I need to know the information before I do that, and now I do," the World Cup-winning captain stated.
Director of development and welfare in PCA, Ian Thomas explained why this workshop is important.
"We're delighted to have been able to provide these sessions, and the feedback from our members has been hugely positive for what is a very emotional and delicate issue.
"These players operate at the pinnacle of our sport and are watched by millions of people week in, week out. It is therefore crucial that they have the required knowledge to continue to provide a good example for the general public, and young people in particular, in the way they conduct themselves," Thomas said.
Cricket, called the gentleman's game has been largely devoid of the kind of ugly incidents which this workshop seeks to avoid. However, in the past, there has been the odd case of a cricketer misbehaving.
Some years ago, an Australian cricketer Luke Pomersbach was accused of molesting a lady during a season of Indian Premier League. The matter got settled out of court and the aggrieved party dropped their charges.
In 2015, Chris Gayle tried to flirt with an Australian television presenter during live coverage of Big Bash League. This led to a lot of criticism and action was taken against Gayle by the BBL authorities. The West Indian superstar was also accused of sexual harassment by a hotel masseuse in 2017 but he was acquitted in court.
Hopefully, cricketers would continue to set a good example of conduct and live up to the tag of this sport being a gentleman's game.