So many thoughts enter the mind about the ball tampering cheating that Steve Smith and his leadership group instigated in Cape Town overnight.
This is an absolute disgrace. Steve Smith and David Warner must be sacked immediately as captain and vice-captain and can never again be in a leadership position again.
They must also be dropped from the 4th test and sent home.
The other “leaders” involved in hatching this plan must also be dropped for 4th test.
Cameron Bancroft, the man they put in this position unfortunately must be suspended either by the ICC or Cricket Australia.
A calculated plan of deceit to tamper with the ball, one of the worst things you can do on a cricket field, on the back off all the sledging issues which have plagued this tour, make it completely untenable for them to be on the rest of the tour.
A strong message must be sent, if for no other reason than to send a message to the next generations coming through that this sort of behaviour is just not on.
The sledging and general behaviour at the top does impact on cricket at the grassroots. As someone who has been involved in junior cricket for the past five years, its easy to see that impact. Send-offs and sledging is becoming commonplace, as are wicket celebrations that are way over the top.
Now it seems we can add ball tampering to that list. In all my years playing cricket, coaching and captaining teams never once has doing something like this even entered my brain. How its can for some of the best players in the world is staggering.
Australians pride themselves as being hard but fair. What occurred overnight in South Africa is neither. It’s cowardly cheating because a match was not going their way.
At a time where the competition between sports for the hearts and minds of fans is at its absolute peak, this is the last thing Cricket Australia needed.
So, going forward, here’s what I do.
- Sack Steve Smith and David Warner as captain and vice-captain after this test match and send them home immediately.
- Drop anyone else who was involved in the decision to tamper with the ball and Cameron Bancroft if not suspended.
- Fly over the best players to replace them once the Shield final is finished.
- Install Tim Paine as captain for the 4th
- Put some stringent criteria in place before these players come back into the team, but Smith and Warner can never be in a position of leadership again.
- Coach Darren Lehmann to be on a first and final warning.
Something needs to be done. Let’s see if Cricket Australia has the guts to do it.