Australia’s esteemed church leaders have urged the fuming cricket fans to forgive the former national captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and rookie opener Cameron Bancroft for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the cricketing fraternity last week.
Addressing Sunday’s gathering at Sydney’s St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies said the redemption of Easter gives hope of forgiveness to all those who are guilty of moral failure - even the tainted sportsmen.
“When we all look at our own selves, we recognise we’ve all been there, we’ve had our own failures,” Davies quoted as saying by Reuters.
“Perhaps not quite as public as Steve Smith’s and the other two, but failures nonetheless. If it’s hard enough to confront and stand up to a press gallery and admit you’re wrong, what would it be like to stand before the living God and admit that you were wrong?” he added.
The inclusion of ball-tampering saga in Easter sermons signifies how deeply the scandal has hit the sports-loving people of Australia.
“None of us have been personally damaged by what Steve Smith and David Warner have done but they represent Australia so we feel it’s personal. Forgiveness is difficult as not everyone wants to give it,” Everton Hills Wesleyan Methodist Church pastor Nathan Bell told Reuters.
Australian cricket was shaken to the core after cameras had caught Bancroft using a sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during the recently concluded Cape Town Test against South Africa.
In a shocking press conference after the day's play, Smith had admitted that the entire ball-tampering saga was a deliberate plan from the “leadership group” of the side. Moreover, he had apologized and tried to convince everyone that this was the first time it had happened under his captaincy.
Subsequently, Smith was handed a one-match suspension and fined 100% of his match fee by the International Cricket Council (ICC), while Bancroft was penalized 75 percent of his match fee and awarded three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct.
Aside from ICC, Cricket Australia on Wednesday (March 28) announced severe punishments on the convicted trio. CA banned Smith and Warner for 12 months, while Bancroft was handed a 9-month suspension from international cricket.