World Cup cricket: England have traded fair play for ruthless edge – poll

(Reuters) – England may be among the favourites to claim their maiden World Cup title on home soil but fans of the gentleman’s game believe they are not likely to win any fair play awards, according to a poll.

In a poll by research agency YouGov Sport that consulted 6,500 fans across the six major cricket-playing countries, less than a third of the English fans who replied believed their team, now the top-ranked one-day international side, had the most ethical set of players.

Only fans of defending champions Australia had less faith in their players’ sporting ethics, a fallout of the 2018 ball-tampering scandal that led to skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner being hit with 12-month bans from the game.

“It looks like England have traded in their reputation for being nice for being winners. Many fans will settle for that if it means lifting the World Cup this year,” YouGov Sport commercial director Charlie Dundas said.

The data also showed that the English public was the least likely to believe cricket was a game played with a high standard of sporting ethics.

“There is an alternative explanation (for the data),” Dundas said. “The lower a country sets the bar on ethical expectations, the more likely it is that a team will meet them. It could just be that the English public sets the bar higher.”

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