SportSport

Commentary Box: The morals that lie within sandpaper

In my time as a sport journalist, I have never seen such an absolute media frenzy that has followed the recent ball tampering scandal involving the Australian Cricket team on their test tour to South Africa. Sure, there has been ball tampering scandals in the past, but for some reason this one feels far worse, …

In my time as a sport journalist, I have never seen such an absolute media frenzy that has followed the recent ball tampering scandal involving the Australian Cricket team on their test tour to South Africa.

Sure, there has been ball tampering scandals in the past, but for some reason this one feels far worse, mainly because Australian captain, Steve Smith and vice-captain, David Warner were behind this farce.
Cameron Bancroft, a relative newcomer to the test arena was the sacrificial lamb here who tampered with the ball right in front of eager cameramen at Newlands who were tipped off beforehand to be on the lookout for any irregularities.

A piece of sandpaper will now never be looked at in the same way ever again, after Bancroft used a yellow piece to scuff the ball to enable more reverse swing for the Australians. Trying to bury the dirty deed literally in his pants did not help either – the Australian media were in a frenzy with headlines such as “Why I have got some sticky near my dicky,” amongst various other more serious headlines filled with disgust and disgrace.

To summarise, Smith and Warner were both given a one year ban from international cricket whilst Bancroft got a 9 month suspension.
Every good story should have a lesson and my take from this all boils down to morality and the innate need to act according to the rules and ethics of cricket and sport in general for that matter.

To me there are two distinct sides to this story. Firstly, humans are fallible and have always been susceptible to do the wrong thing in the hopes of not getting caught. Match fixing and corruption has been rife in the sport of cricket and with the stakes of winning at an all-time high I believe players are encountering these moral dilemmas more regularly than before. Sport is more than just a game, it is a livelihood where greed and a “winning at all costs” culture can arise. That was what Steve Smith and company succumbed to, the pressure of needing to win at all costs. The Australians were also mentally fried after a string of off field incidents and a disruptive team culture could also be to blame. When enjoyment and the spirit of cricket gets lost and eaten up by the hunger for victory, bad things happen.

Secondly this scandal also gives me hope for the future, a silver lining surrounding the dark cloud. A piece of sandpaper and the consequent suspensions have shown that morality and doing good still outweighs the bad in society. Sport can still thrive when action is taken swiftly without prejudice because of the names involved. No one is above the laws of the game. Let us teach young cricketers how to behave and how to abide by the rules and ethics in sport. It begins at home, in the dressing rooms and most importantly by the example set on TV. If the Australians had not been caught, maybe in a years’ time an even worse offense such as match fixing might have taken place. What is done is done and we must look to the future – a future where the best team takes the victory cleanly and fairly.

Let the best man win.

Mall

Related Articles

Back to top button