The ball tampering scandal engulfing the Australian cricket team is more than a one-off incident, it shames the nation.
Australia is cricket and much of the nation’s pride is founded on prowess at the game that has seen the Aussies sit in and around the top of the world rankings for decades.
For test captain Steve Smith to admit he and senior team managers to instruct bowler Cameron Bancroft to tamper with the ball opens a floodgate of accusations.
Other cricketing countries will rightly ask if Australia’s recent Ashes win and success in other tournaments is because they were the better side – or did they cheat?
That slur of cheating will follow Smith and Bancroft for the rest of their careers, and whatever they accomplish in the game will forever be followed by the accusation that they cheated their way to the top.
And if they fail, the comment will always be they deserved their fate for cheating.
Smith has stepped down as captain for the final day of the current test against South Africa in Cape Town.
The International Cricket Council, the sport’s governing body, has banned him for one test and fined him his match fee. Bancroft has been docked 75% of his match fee and handed three ‘demerit’ points.
But the inquiry is ongoing and that the Aussies cheated for just one match and were caught first time is unlikely.
A video has emerged that suggests Bancroft filled his pocket with sugar for ball tampering during the Ashes has emerged.
Why tamper with the ball?
Bowlers tamper with the ball to make it swing more through the air.
The aim is to polish the ball to keep one side shiny and the other dull to improve the swing. Using any agent to dull the ball is prohibited – so if Bancroft rubbed one side of the ball with an abrasive like sugar, that would clearly be a breach of the rules.
Cricket Australia’s formal inquiry into the allegations will be revealed within a few days.
“We have a responsibility to take this further and to understand more about the issue,” Sutherland said today,” said the governing body’s chief executive James Sutherland.
“We are extremely disappointed and shocked, and we are dealing with this issue with the utmost urgency and seriousness.”