Ball-tampering scandal: The final act

March 29, 2018

The tampering travesty, which began on the third day of Australia’s third Test against South Africa in Cape Town on Sunday, has finally come to a conclusion with Australia captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft being heavily sanctioned on Wednesday by CricketAustralia.
Australia captain Smith was handed a one-year suspension from international and domestic cricket by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft faces the same terms of suspension for nine months.
The duo, alongside the other perpetrator, Warner, will however be allowed to play club cricket and will also be required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket.
The board adds that Smith and Bancroft, who admitted to using sandpaper and not tape as he initially claimed, will not be considered for any leadership positions until a minimum of 12 months have passed since their return from suspension.
Warner, who is credited with coming up with the plan and showing Bancroft how to do the tampering, was also handed a one-year suspension from international and domestic cricket but is hit hardest by another sanction — the fact that he will never again be considered for a leadership position.
Although the CA’s sanctions were unarguably the biggest blow, Warner’s fall from grace had gathered steam well before that. He had already resigned from his duties as captain of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad, while electronics giants LG also decided not to renew their contract with Australia’s former vice-captain.
For all the damage done to the individuals and Australian cricket as a whole, the guilty parties also run the risk of being hit hard in the hip pocket as celebrity agent Max Markson warned players will “lose every single one” of their contracts.
Key sponsors of Smith and Warner have released statements in recent days suggesting they will re-evaluate their relationships in the wake of an investigation into what went on in Cape Town.
Sanitarium this week removed all material related to sacked Australian skipper Smith from the website of its breakfast cereal Weet-Bix, while fund manager Magellan, beer and wine distributor Lion and Commonwealth Bank are among those said to be reviewing their options.
The reputational damage comes amid reports the scandal could cost Cricket Australia a large chunk of the 1,000,000,000 Australian dollars it expected to rake in over the years ahead from television rights to the game.
Deakin University sports management lecturer Michael Naraine told the ABC it was “hard to put a dollar figure” on the damage but said: “They’re not going to get that [one billion], and I think it’s probably going to be closer to the $600-700 million mark.”
The Courier Mail also reported “bidding had not reached the heights expected” already due to the “turn-off factor” of some of the players.
Cricket Australia moved to distance Darren Lehmann from the ball-tampering crisis, with CA chief excecutive James Sutherland saying Lehmann had radioed down to substitute Peter Hanscomb to tell him to ask “what the f— is going on” rather than to tell Cameron Bancroft that he had been sprung with a piece of sandpaper.
While he has been cleared by CA of any responsibility for the conspiracy to cheat, Lehmann has been targeted in the media for overseeing a team culture that had deteriorated to the point where such dishonest behaviour was allowed to happen. That will be a key discussion point of an independent review of the team’s culture that has been announced.

-With The Daily Star input

Advertisement Area


Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.