Leading article: All in the game

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The Independent Online

Accusations of gamesmanship, once more, fill the air. The Australian cricket captain has complained that England breached the spirit of the rules in the nerve-shredding denouement of the first Ashes test in Cardiff.

Much has changed in the world of sport since Stephen Potter first identified the technique of "winning games without actually cheating" in a London university doubles tennis match in 1931.

Then, the act of gamesmanship was "the slight suggestion" that an opponent's etiquette or sportsmanship was in question. Now it encompasses conduct such as diving, time-wasting, sledging, even, some say, grunting.

But the fascinating thing about modern gamesmanship is that it is always more frequently deployed by your opponents than your own team. If only Potter were around to chronicle such important developments in this most subtle of arts.

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