Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft (left) admit to ball tampering.
Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft (left) admit to ball tampering. Gallo Images

Past forgotten as fans focus on latest scandal

IN THE wake of the ball-tampering debacle, one thing has become very clear - Australian sports fans are very quick to turn on their own.

Undoubtedly, Steve Smith, his leadership team and Cameron Bancroft have done the wrong thing and should be punished.

There is no question; fines and suspensions are in order.

 

Cameron Bancroft is quizzed by the umpires during the third Test.
Cameron Bancroft is quizzed by the umpires during the third Test. Halden Krog

What isn't in order is the degrading remarks about the men in question.

They made a stupid mistake/decision in trying to get a result for their country and fans.

As far stupid goes, this was right up there with the worst, but I still think we can afford them some slack.

Smith has almost single-handedly lifted the Australian Test team back to powerhouse status after it hit very low lows only a couple of years ago.

 

Steve Smith before being axed as Australian captain.
Steve Smith before being axed as Australian captain. STEFAN POSTLES

He has lead with passion and single-minded determination the whole time.

His drive for success probably got the best of him in South Africa and he will regret the decision made for the rest of his life, I would think.

What I ask of Australian fans is, by all means condemn them for this action, but don't disregard all the good they have done over a long period.

 

South Africa's Faf du Plessis in 2016 after being found guilty of ball tampering.
South Africa's Faf du Plessis in 2016 after being found guilty of ball tampering. Rick Rycroft

Offer the same support other countries have offered their stars while facing similar charges - Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in India, Faf du Plessis in South Africa, Marcus Trescothick in England and Shahid Afridi in Pakistan have all had similar charges levelled against them and they all received widespread support from their fans.

If the rebuttal to all of this is "we hold our players to a higher standard", I ask, why? Why do we expect our sports stars to be above the acceptable standard?

The acceptable standard is there because it is acceptable, isn't it? When that standard is breached there are laws in place that punish the offenders.

It is the governing bodies that hand out the punishments, it shouldn't be the fans.

 

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland announces an inquiry into the incident.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland announces an inquiry into the incident. JULIAN SMITH

We should revere our stars at the higher level?

Why don't we have the courage to say, "yes, they stuffed up and should be punished, but we will always support them"?

It seems it is easier or more fashionable to jump on a high horse and deride those who have given so much for our enjoyment.



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