Bairstow dismissal unfair say Brits, but do they feel the laws of the game need to change?
July 7th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Bairstow dismissal unfair say Brits, but do they feel the laws of the game need to change?

The debate over the Bairstow dismissal isn’t going to die down anytime soon. The England camp is displeased and everyone from the UK Prime Minister to the England coach has made their feelings known. Meanwhile, the Australian camp has unanimously backed their wicketkeeper’s decision to stump Bairstow after he wandered out of the crease seemingly thinking that an over had been called.

But what does the British public think? A YouGov survey run on Monday, July 3 – a day after the incident – reveals that two-thirds of those following the men’s Ashes series have deemed that the move was unfair (67%). Only just over a quarter think that the move was fair (27%).

Ashes followers aged 18-50 were slightly less likely to deem the move fair (25%) than those aged 51 and over (28%).

Three-quarters of Ashes followers felt that the appeal should have been withdrawn by Australia (74%). What’s interesting is that this includes 32% of even those who felt the dismissal was fair.

Does this mean that the public want changes to the laws of the game to curb dismissals of this nature or do they simply wish for these incidents to be mitigated under the ambit of the ‘Spirit of Cricket’? Over half of all Ashes followers in Britain (55%) say there should be changes to the laws of the game, while a third feel (34%) that no such changes are in order.

Within the England camp, even among those criticising the decision, there has been an agreement that the dismissal did not contravene the laws of the game. Captain Ben Stokes indicated as much in his post-match press conference as did England quick Stuart Broad in his column for the Daily Mail. Their argument has instead centred mainly around the ‘Spirit of Cricket’.

We probed the Ashes-following public on that topic too, and 55% of them said that the “Spirit of Cricket” is a valid concept necessary to maintain the integrity of the sport. But over a third of them agreed that "Spirit of Cricket" is subjective and can be interpreted differently by individuals, making it challenging to adhere to consistently (36%). Three-tenths of those who termed the Bairstow dismissal unfair also acknowledged the challenge in adhering to a consistent definition of “Spirit of Cricket” (29%).

Only 6% of the audience overall felt that the Spirit of Cricket is an unnecessary concept that should have no real influence on the game as long as the laws are followed. Note here that the audience was asked to select only one option that they felt most strongly represented their views.

Explore our living data – for free

Want to run your own research? Run a survey now

Discover more sports content here

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today.

Methodology: YouGov polled 1,000 regular watchers of cricket in Britain online on July 03, 2023. The sample was then filtered down to 985 adults, representing only those who have been following the men’s Ashes 2023. The survey was carried out through YouGov Surveys: Self-serve. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Self-serve.