Has Australia's credibility taken a hit after the ball-tampering scandal?
Over the last few days, there has been huge outrage in and outside the country of Australia, a prestigious sporting nation known for more than just their cricket skills. The most debated Test series in recent times, South Africa vs Australia, started with a lot of abuse and sledging, more than one would normally expect.
That in itself was surprising, but the real shock was to come later in the form of the ball-tampering saga, on the third day of the 3rd test. The ICC acted immediately, punishing Cameron Bancroft and Steven Smith with level 2 offenses.
However, Cricket Australia and the entire country took it much more seriously and subsequently launched an inquiry, one that was fueled by the anger and disappointment of this proud sporting people.
The protests came from all over, with virtually no support for the Australian team and its leadership, who explicitly hand shook the deal in the dressing room beforehand. In addition, widespread criticism and outrage rained down on the now-suspended captain and vice-captain.
The anger towards the Aussie team escalated once the extent of their error came to light. One can easily understand by now that the ball-tampering incident was just a trigger that went on to take the shots at the attitude of the Australian cricket team.
The avalanche that ensued was made even worse by the harsh actions of James Sutherland, CEO of Cricket Australia, in the press conference that followed. To add to the woes of Smith and Warner, both their franchises, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively, stripped them of their captaincies later, after the press release.
The most exciting thriller to be seen in the cricketing world for a long time came to an end with the ban that would prevent the three from playing in the national and international arenas for the next twelve months.
The cricketing world, fans, and fraternity around the globe seemed to be partly convinced by the decisions taken by Cricket Australia, leaving the future of the trio in the dark. But the damage that was caused by the series of incidents to Australian cricket team is humungous and everyone involved in it will be repenting for the rest of life. Surely, it is going to take years to regain the trust and respect of the people in Australia.
This is a critical time for current and aspiring members of the much-famed Australian cricket team to focus on building the team's character that comprises more than just an obsession to win at all costs.
Nevertheless, Cricket Australia should put diligent efforts in creating awareness among players and support staff to the consequences of actions forbidden by law. Lastly, carrying a legacy is important, but taking it forward in the right manner is infinitely more important.