On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: caught-short cricketers

Thanks to a series of decidedly unsporting incidents such as supplying information to a bookmaker, failing a drugs test and swearing at an umpire, Shane Warne has earned a reputation as one of cricket's more controversial characters.

So when you've got the former Australian bowler lambasting you for "unnecessary and crass" behaviour, you know you're in trouble. What had attracted Warne's ire? Well, England's cricketers, fresh from claiming a win in the Ashes series against Australia, found themselves literally on a sticky wicket when their celebrations ended with several players relieving themselves on the hallowed turf at the Kia Oval cricket ground.

In this most quintessentially English of sports, in which players don pristine white kit and break for mid-afternoon tea, this is not the kind of behaviour one expects. Sports minister Hugh Robertson described with considerable understatement the cricketers' actions as "not good behaviour". So, a tarnish on their reputations as well as the sacrosanct Oval pitch.

And, like it or not, today's handsomely rewarded sports stars are meant to be role models. As any PE teacher knows, children like to replicate the actions of their sporting heroes. And no one wants to see that kind of thing on the school pitch. So, lads, well done for the win but off to the naughty step until you learn how to control yourselves.

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