Australian have tarnished the image of cricket!
The razzmatazz of Indian Premier League still has not engulfed world cricket. The ICC World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe had everyone kept at the edge of their seats with its twists and turns while here in Bangladesh, that Nidahas Trophy is still the talk of the town. Amid all these, in South Africa, Test cricket has been utterly brilliant. It has been proved yet again, no formats of the game can give an ardent follower of cricket the greatest pleasures than an exciting Test match.
The ongoing battle between Australia and South Africa have everything which a cricket fan relishes. Some high-class batting and bowling display, on-field mental intimidation and off the field controversies and some brilliant fightbacks which have already become a part of cricket’s folklore. But, the ploy to make the ball do a bit more in that eventful afternoon at Cape Town yesterday has dented the overall image of this fantastic game and of course, Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and Darren Lehman have let cricket down. Most importantly, the Australian cricket followers across the globe were shell-shocked and left feeling horrible and cheated.
[fve] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yChk9LEclw [/fve]
Let me be frank. I have been a follower of Australian cricket team since the days of Allan Border. That Australian team played the game hard. They were never the unit to give up easily and Border had instilled a culture which was carried on successfully by Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting for almost two decades. They sledged, they attacked with the bat and ball and they were smart on the field, but they played the game fairly. They never left their fans to feel cheated.
Fans like me and millions of others have always tried to defend Australia’s sledging, mental intimidation, line-shifting antics and ultra-aggressive approach on the field, but on what basis would a fan defend their disgraceful ploy yesterday remains a moot question. In fact, there are no logics available to defend Bancroft’s actions. A fan cannot even term it as brain-fade after the confession of Bancroft and Smith in the post-match press conference.
"Today was a big mistake on my behalf and on the leadership group's behalf" – Steve Smith #SAvAUS pic.twitter.com/VVIsSnJWsl
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) March 24, 2018
The confession in the post-match press conference was appreciative. No dramatic statements were made to defend such a shame. But would their confessions save the image of Australian cricket? Would their confession save the integrity of this game?
Smith has proved to be the worst ever captain in the history of Australian cricket. He has failed to instill smartness and moral ethics within this team and similarly, Darren Lehmann can be termed as a failure in true sense of terms. To coach and lead a team like Australia, who are always scrutinized by the critics, fans and media, requires steadiness, intelligence and ethics. There has to have the Australian way and not the ways of a cheater!
Mitchell Starc has been absolutely marvellous with the old ball while bowling from an angle. Then, the likes of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh were good as well with the old ball. They chipped in the crucial junctures of the match and reversed to ball to trigger important collapses and let Australia comeback into the game.
Reverse-swing is an art and like many teams in world cricket, Australia have learned this art quite well. In the first two Test matches, they had displayed, this art without enough fuss and hullabaloo. They are a very good exponent of this art and what led them to adopt such a ploy yesterday, one cannot just understand.
Now, due to Australia’s action yesterday, a common fan would even doubt the mastery of Starc and co exhibited previously. How quickly the thought process changes with just one bad incident? How badly is a fan let down by just one bad incident?
James Sutherland: This will be dealt with promptly. We will make further comment in due course.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) March 25, 2018
At present, one can see the vacuum at the top of Australian cricket. The emptiness of genuine leader and mentor are heavily felt by all.
Richard Hinds in his opinion piece at abc.net.au said, “That leadership vacuum is now starkly exposed, both in the abject lunch time ball-tampering plot and the ham-fisted attempt to cover up Bancroft’s actions even after they had been exposed by the TV cameras.
Thus Smith, Lehmann and their team have not merely let themselves down, they have angered and humiliated those they represent.
Australian cricket as a whole now wears the cheating label they have applied.
How Australia’s ball tampering scandal stacks up against other cases around the world.
This includes the juniors to whom the team is portrayed as role models in promotional and advertising campaigns, the club cricketers who form a vital part of the game’s eco-system and the viewing public which is constantly sold the message that the Australian team represents the very best of what we are”.
At the end of the day, being a fan of Australian cricket, I can only say, that was unnecessary mate!