It was never going to be just about the ball tampering for Australia

An opportunity presents itself to enlighten the future Australian Teams.

The moment this incident took place and their players owned the mistake, it was never going to be just about the ball tampering for Australia. Its a very thick skinned sporting culture, they know how to deal and move on from the worst. You could see how Australia almost prescribes others of how to play their sport. How to exemplify and stand for a proud sporting culture. And Although, often leaving things to be desired, its a cricket nation that has come across very desperate to wear virtues like integrity and their reputation like a badge of honour. Those who don't fit into their values are misfits. 

You can understand why Australia have reacted this way, and I dare say only Australia could. They relish their sport and not just cricket, like no other nation. There's a reason why Australia has a presence in the most world cups across sports. Football, Hockey, Cricket, even Kabbadi... you name it and Australia are there. The Australian public loves to admire their sporting heroes. Once they are up, Australia is up with them. And so, when two of their sporting heroes fell recently, most of the public thought it had fallen too. Best exemplified by the fact that Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are receiving their harshest criticism from their own and with names like Michael Clarke and Michel Hussey at the front. 

Beyond the Australian reaction though, are the realities of the issue.  Ball tampering is prevalent for years. And it is as planned as some of the other on-field strategies involved with our sport, just that some teams are smart enough to get away without being found out. They very subtly do it. Mike Brearley one of the sought out voices in our sports' community went to the extent that we won't get a cricketer who can put his hand on his heart and say he hasn't done it. Tampering rule is more there to ensure nothing harmful is caused to the ball and subsequently the play, and so, when willingly done and found out it makes individuals punishable to the level 2 offence which results in a match ban. One year Ban is a serious reaction and must confess, an overreaction too. 

There are corners of our society comparing the offence with Match/Spot-fixing for the search of headlines. These are the voices nobody should consider. Ball Tampering is nowhere near as grim as the match-fixing. In fact, there have been talks of legalizing the former. Fixing is a crime our sport has no place for, and those involved in doing so shall never be allowed to play the game again. There's a substantial difference in the unethical and the criminal. 

There is more it, the likelihood of last year's unfortunate pay-over issue where players weren't falling into the lines of the administrators, coming back on the players isn't too far-fetched an imagination. I fear when David Warner says he is "..resigned to the fact that he might never play for Australia again" that he's been communicated more from the Cricket Australia than what has come out in the public. Something beyond the official announcement. 

But the international game can't afford to miss out on players like Warner and Smith for a year, and no way forever. Our sport is poor for their absence for as long as it may be. It will reflect on Australia's on-field fortunes as much as it will on the quality that our sport is supposed to serve to those who watch it. 

There is a lot to learn out of this for Australian Cricket. The moment this act was planned in that dressing room, a wise head needed to say don't. A team is supposed to be together at all times with their values, but those values have to be checked. Imagine Ravi Shastri not knowing what is going on in an Indian dressing room, Darren Lehmann had a big escape when Australia allowed him to the opportunity to go on his terms. Also, imagine the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad not knowing what their fielders are doing with the ball for example. It is nowhere close to being even considered true. 

Australian Sporting culture is different, but the Australian cricket dressing room needs strong characters above great cricketers. A sentiment echoed by Michael Hussey. This is a chance to forge a bright future amidst the prevailing darkness. They have the opportunity to enlighten the future Australian cricket teams with a strong moral base. If this is followed with intent,  nothing will stop Australia as they are perfectly capable to come out of this as a better cricket team. It was never going to be just about the ball tampering for Australia, it shouldn't now.  




By Kashish Chadha - 03 Apr, 2018

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