When team Australia plays cricket, nothing is certain. Their recent South Africa tour has lived up to the expectation and with the sandpaper scandal, they have managed to self-doubt their team’s culture and leadership.
Australian cricketers are known for their on-pitch antics, from their banter to sledging to their downright personal attacks and intimidation but this time they have done something that has shocked the world – they have cheated; however, their arrogance has not diminished.
Their tour of South Africa has been marred by controversies – the Quinton de Kock incident and the Kagiso Rabada incident had set the tone for the typical Australia on-pitch tactics, however, South Africa didn’t succumb to their immature tactics and fought back, this drove Australia to do the unthinkable – Cheat!
Ball tampering is a serious offence and I am sure Cricket Australia and their team leadership from coach to the captain are well aware of the fact, but the desperation took the better of them, leading to some glorious slow-mo footage of the team cheating right from the antics on the pitch to expressions of their coach ending with Bancroft shoving the yellow-tape in his pants, in true Oscar-winning fashion the world saw Cricket Australia’s fall from grace.
The worst thing was the captain was not apologetic in his post-match interview, it all seemed like the Australian team just wants us to forget this incident as if it was one of their sledging incidents. This time, however, the damage is irreparable.
Smith and Warner have stepped down from captain and vice-captain positions and have been banned and fined, but the real damage is far bigger than the pair of them getting banned and fined, this time Cricket Australia is paying the price. After all the up’s and down’s Cricket Australia has experienced last year, this comes as yet another blow to the reputation of the association and the integrity of the leadership.
In my opinion, Cricket Australia must take strict actions against the people involved and give them a long-term ban and terminate the contracts of all involved at management level, this is the best way to mitigate the crisis and save their reputation and appease the commercial stakeholders including sponsors and the government, after all, when your own Prime Minister openly brands the players as cheats and asks for the players to be banned is a clear indication that this controversy is of a mammoth scale and Cricket Australia is in crisis.
I also hope that Smith and Warner’s respective Indian Premier League teams MUST ban them from playing this season with a clear intention of not sending misleading messages to the young cricket fans in India, Australia and the rest of the world.
James Sutherland’s (Cricket Pact) speech (2003) stated that “winning at the elite level is important” but maintained “the spirit in which the game is played is just as important – whether it be in the schoolyard, the local suburban oval or at international level”.
This is clearly not happening and it’s putting the beautiful game of test cricket (which is already on a decline) in a bad light and moreover putting Cricket Australia in disrepute.
Watch the Channel 9 report: