More Rain – And Putting The Ban Into Bancroft

All this scratching is making we twitch.

With all due respect to the very limited action available to the hardy souls in Auckland, the story of today is without doubt Australia being hoisted on their own petard. Let’s be charitable here and say let the investigation run its course and it would be premature to rush to judgement. Then remember back less than three months to Channel 9 and its shenanigans over a dubious looking moment with Jimmy Anderson. There was no measured calm, no looking for innocent explanations, no trying to get the facts. They were, quite blatantly, playing the 12th or 13th man for Team Australia, and the media out there duly followed. We see it, we get mad by it and yes, in just a small way, we might even envy their loyalty and support. But it’s not looking to secure justice and fair play.

Yes, I know, I am being hopelessly naive, and yes, I know, I’ve probably crossed a moral line or two playing sport too. But we are going to get nowhere if we start denying the obvious. Let’s wait and see what happens later in the day, but at the very least Bancroft is guilty of misleading the match officials, which is what Burge threw the book at Atherton for. I was at the Oval in 2006 when Pakistan were accused of ball tampering, and all we had to go on was announcement of a 5 run penalty. When we put two and two together, we thought there might be trouble. And trouble there was. This gets to be an emotive subject.

I know we have some Aussies who come on here regularly, and I know we can’t put this on all of them because it would be silly. But I do put it on large swathes of their media that allows, even laughs, at people like Malcolm Conn having a pop at England picking players with perfectly legitimate links to England, while ignoring Usman Khawaja or Andrew Symonds with less tangible birth links (and for the record, absolutely they should be playing for Australia). You can’t chuck this nonsense out and (a) not expect it back and (b) to be bloody ridiculed for it. For years the Australian team, and its dutiful press corps, by and large have been fine and dandy when they are dishing out the stick to the opposition. If it is because you are being beaten, you are crying. If it is because you are in a tough game, it is mental disintegration and what test cricket is about. If you are winning…’s Australian spirit, never say die etc. And by and large I really don’t care. But you don’t and never should, get the privilege of defining a line. Yet in this series they are telling us South Africa are crossing it.

(Update – Of course, I forgot Lehmann’s part in all this. Just like some football managers, when his boys do it, it’s fine. When his team does it, it’s within the line. But when an idiot South African fan dispenses it back, it’s off we go. You can’t run with foxes and hunt with the hounds. These things have a tendency to bite you on the arse. Which is why England should keep quiet because we definitely head butt the line too.)

Now Australia are faced with dealing with a really sticky situation with Cameron Bancroft. It does not look good. The press all over the world will be watching. In turn I’ll be watching the Aussie media. On Sky Graeme Smith put Allan Border on the spot about it, and AB, as loyal to the Aussie cause, as gritty and determined as they come, a player I admired (save that Dean Jones macho bullshit nonsense in Madras) was put in a spot. Did he jump to a conclusion and be berated as disloyal, or play it safe. He trod a careful path “it doesn’t look good, and if he’s found guilty he will have to pay the penalty”. Can’t say fairer than that. This is going to run and run. (Update – 2 hours on and Malcolm Conn is silent. Maybe it’s past his bedtime.)

Aside from all the nonsense, this is a cracking series, and this is another good match. A pity the two teams have acted like bloody children. It’s taking away from the spectacle, not adding spice. We know how competitive the two teams are.

Beautiful Newlands…. Any excuse to get this picture out

A story is breaking that Virat Kohli is going to miss Afghanistan’s first ever test match to play three games of county cricket, probably for Surrey. Sadly for us Londoners the only home game he will play if he does is at Guildford, which although great for a day out, is not so great if there’s going to be a large crowd. Anyone fancy a day at the Ageas Bowl for his first game? I think this speaks much about the game – county cricket still has some attraction otherwise why would Kohli bother; some test matches aren’t quite as important as others; and England helping out an opponent by giving him early match practice is laudable, in my view now. I’ve changed my tune and would rather see a well prepared, in tune India play England than some outfit ill prepared and waiting to go home. I maintain my point. Test cricket really needs Virat Kohli. If he turns his back on it (and I know he sort of his for the Afghan test) then the game might be in trouble. He’s the world’s most important cricketer right now and it’s not even close.

We’ll probably come back to the Colin Graves and Glamorgan story. Again, if the story stands up, you’ll count us shocked. Really shocked.

So to Day 4 at Auckland. England don’t deserve to be saved by the rain and they should at least have to have earned a draw by batting time – a thing we have been dead good at in recent years. The weather forecast appears better tonight. New Zealand should look to add 120-150 quick runs, get up to 350 if they can and stick us in. Some might say they should go earlier and I wouldn’t argue. Then England will need to earn some pride back. It’s by no means acceptable, and that 58 should be remembered for quite a while, but it would be a start. This team has been papering over cracks with its home form. There’s a lot about “no-one wins away” but we aren’t even competitive. That has to change.

Comments on all of this immediate, reactive nonsense below. Comments on the test should also follow.

UPDATE – They have confessed. It was a leadership group decision. Smith as captain has to go. Absolutely no questions asked. Warner as vice-captain cannot take that position up either. At the moment they are protecting Lehmann. That’s not going to work either.


Well, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since the afternoon. Chris is possibly going to be on tomorrow to give his verdict on Day 4 and some comment on today’s events.

I genuinely believe that Steve Smith is dead in the water. If he survives this, I’d be genuinely shocked. The next in line would be David Warner, but he has to be part of the “leadership group” mentioned in Smith’s mea culpa. It’s not the ball tampering, which is ludicrous and to some extents serious enough. But it’s conspiring to do so, within a structure within the team, and then getting the sap with the fewest caps to carry it out. More will come out about the whys and hows, but this isn’t an international captain, nor a vice-captain showing leadership. Those who think this is purely about ball-tampering are off their minds.

Australia find themselves in a bind purely of their own making. They have been holier than thou in terms of their cricket for a good while, and the mask, however slightly, has slipped. People can abide cheats – players who have pushed the margins of the rules, who have appealed when they know it is not out, who have even pushed the line of acceptable banter – but they generally can’t abide hypocrites. Loads of people have sledged, but why do you think people go at Warner? Because he can throw, but he can’t catch. Smith and the whole “Baggy Green” ethos is in tatters, and he is the one at the helm of his ship. “Oooops, I’ve smashed this one into the iceberg, but I’m just the man to rearrange the deckchairs…”

The issue isn’t for me to say Steve Smith should be sacked – I think he should but that is a call for Cricket Australia. What this is also not about is the technical issue of ball tampering. What is in question is leadership and the way the game is played. Cricketers have cheated since the beginning of the day and always will. Much of it comes from the flow of the game. It isn’t pre-meditated over a lunchtime chat to take something out into the middle and blatantly use it on the ball. Some will say Smith shouldn’t be the one to take the fall. Let us see. Commercial and reputational interests conquer all, and this is not a good look, right or wrong, and they will decide the fate.

It’s been a funny old day….


97 thoughts on “More Rain – And Putting The Ban Into Bancroft

  1. Mark Mar 24, 2018 / 4:22 pm

    Allegations of ball tampering are very serious. Especially if it turns out the Aussies have a special yellow device that they use for the purpose. Tut, tut. Why is it always the colour yellow with the Aussies?

    And it would be rude of us not to ponder further questions……. Has this device been used before in other matches, and series? And if so how often, and what is the device? Has it been constructed in an Aussie shed somewhere for the purpose?

    Is this more serious than a head butt? I’m sure Channel Nine can be trusted to ask the hard questions in complete impartiality. (Snark)


    • Mark Mar 24, 2018 / 5:00 pm

      I see the Aussies have set up a circular firing squad.

      They are using the …….”I’m Spartacus” defence.


  2. sillypointcricketsite Mar 24, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    I’ve not been a fan of Ozzie players getting county gigs pre-Ashes series but it’s a valid point you make re: Kohli and rather seeing England play prepared opposition not undercooked ones. It is a shame though if Afghanistan’s first Test ends up being against India A of sorts.


  3. northernlight71 Mar 24, 2018 / 5:30 pm

    Strike a light. The Australian team, cheating?
    I’m shocked I tell you.

    Shocked that they admitted it.


  4. Rooto Mar 24, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    Amateurs. Needed a yellow cloth. Schoolboy error.
    Good on Smith for ‘fessing up.

    Sorry Aussies, that’s all I’ve got in terms of positivity.

    More seriously, if Smith has fingered the management group and refuses to resign, then he’s essentially handed the loaded revolver to Lehmann, and pointed to the door of the study…


  5. BoredInAustria Mar 24, 2018 / 5:50 pm

    The series in SA has been a interesting in terms of a hard fought contest, but it is plunging new depths in terms of bad sportsmanship – on both sides.


  6. BoredInAustria Mar 24, 2018 / 5:57 pm

    It wont happen again
    The coaches weren’t involved.
    I can promise you this is the first time it has happened.
    If we weren’t caught, I would still regret it.

    Believe that if you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Mar 24, 2018 / 6:10 pm

      Smith said ……” “It was the leadership group’s idea. Poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren’t involved.”

      So let me get this straight, the leadership group involves none of the coaches? Why employ a coach then?

      If you believe this……I have a bridge in Brooklyn I d like to sell you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Mar 24, 2018 / 6:13 pm

        There are some out there who think this is about ball tampering.

        It’s about deceit. It’s about the self-appointed arbiters of the game being caught out. A lot like Sky Cycling and their moral piety. That’s what this is about.

        I am more interested to see how the Aussie press react. The early returns are that ball tampering isn’t that important. Good luck with that when you’ve thrown that shit at a lot of others, including Jimmy Anderson at the MCG.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Mar 24, 2018 / 6:21 pm


          Smith says he won’t resign. Which is nice of him. But he better hope they can’t prove the coaches were not involved other wise he will have been caught in deceit again.

          It’s always the cover up that gets you


          • @pktroll Mar 24, 2018 / 7:58 pm

            I think Lehmann comes out of this series looking like a real cretin. Not only has he whinged about the abuse his players have received but he is one who is in charge of his players and the way they behave. Now it appears he is cognisant of this.

            That of course may not concern the Aussie media but it should act as a lightening rod should crowds across the world decide that Aussie players should receive dogs abuse wherever they go from this point forward given their bare faced hypocrisy. I honestly think by their actions they will deserve pretty much all they get.

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Mar 24, 2018 / 9:04 pm

            I notice the usual contrarians are being contrary. It’s not so bad. It’s out of hand.

            Missing the point just as much as I’d miss the ball playing Murali, blindfolded at Galle.


          • Zephirine Mar 24, 2018 / 9:17 pm

            Missing the point just as much as I’d miss the ball playing Murali, blindfolded at Galle

            Nice line.
            It made me go and look up this clip again:


          • Rohan Mar 24, 2018 / 9:24 pm

            That KP video is great ‘blindfold cricket’. I wouldn’t have a chance! Thing is, I would guess that for KP it’s probably not that difficult. He practiced so hard and had such a well groomed technique that I imagine he naturally knew how long the ball would take to arrive in the block hole and instinctively smacked it. Of course I could be talking rubbish, but I reckon it was just fun and giggles for him, either way a great video Inhad not seen before.


          • Zephirine Mar 24, 2018 / 9:29 pm

            Rohan, the interesting thing is he gets it wrong first time and is bowled. Then he seems to think about it and get a sense of where the ball is.

            Of course there were probably lots of other misses edited out, but even so, those hits are quite something.


          • Rohan Mar 24, 2018 / 9:44 pm

            Zeph I thought that as well, but watched it again and I think he says ‘can I hear one first please’ which I think is the one that bowls him? But I could be wrong. Interesting that he asks to hear one, maybe sounds is important to his timing!?


          • Zephirine Mar 24, 2018 / 11:43 pm

            It’s probably a ball like they use in cricket for blind people, which has ball bearings in so it can be heard. But in blind cricket they bowl differently, underarm I think.


        • oreston Mar 24, 2018 / 10:29 pm

          If pressed, the average “patriotic” Aussie sports journalist will probably go down the moral equivalence route and argue that because other teams have also been accused of ball tampering this incident in South Africa is being blown out of all proportion. It’s at times like this that we really miss Benaud – a voice of genuine moral authority in Australian cricket who called it like he saw it but always put the interests of the game itself first.


          • LordCanisLupus Mar 24, 2018 / 10:56 pm

            To be fair, many have seen the way the wind is blowing and are falling into line in lambasting Smith and the management team / leadership group. Cricket Australia are due up in the next couple of hours. They will set the tone. At the moment, Smith’s a long way from safety. A very long way.


          • oreston Mar 24, 2018 / 11:28 pm

            They won’t sack him… if they can possibly avoid it. Too much invested, too big to fail. And who the hell else are they going to give the captaincy to – especially since (by his own admission – and this might just prove to be a genius act of self-preservation) the other senior players were all in on it too.


  7. Escort Mar 24, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    FFS… the game has survived worse but FFS.


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 24, 2018 / 9:07 pm

      Indeed. And will survive this.

      It’s the amusement. The hoisting on ones own petard. The sheer comedy. After all the moral indignation turn this. Karma is a female canine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dlpthomas Mar 25, 2018 / 12:41 am

        Schadenfreude. Sweet, sweet schadenfreude.


      • Escort Mar 25, 2018 / 2:20 am

        Karma perhaps. Damage to the game of Cricket insurmountable.


  8. metatone Mar 24, 2018 / 7:00 pm

    Subject to which day, I’m up for the Ageas Bowl.


    • Benny Mar 24, 2018 / 10:17 pm

      I’m very tempted, although I don’t look forward to getting there


  9. metatone Mar 24, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    Re: NZ, they deserve better than this rain… To some degree I think might be a waste of time looking to score more runs now, just bowl England out again and then knock off any remaining. Best chance of avoiding more rain deciding the outcome.


  10. metatone Mar 24, 2018 / 7:09 pm

    So… Australia… – this is in fact mental disintegration… when you’re so scared of losing you decide to cheat.

    As a side note, I wonder if we need stronger in-game penalties – SA are looking in a good position, but if Aus win this Test on the back of this I think it will damage the game further.

    And I do think the culture of Aussie cricket needs to look at itself.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Rohan Mar 24, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    I can’t believe how wrong Australia have got this. From Lehman’s moaning about crowd abuse to Smith’s seemingly endorsed ball tampering, it’s not great. Thing is, and maybe I am way out, but I always thought the Aussies, although possibly not always the smartest, had some astuteness and basic common sense. This just seems lacking in any way, it just seems dumb and ignorant.

    I always sort of begrudgingly admired Aussie cricket, especially through the 90s and early 00s when they regularly beasted us. I didn’t always warm to them, but hell there were many times when I wished England could front up like they did, but not this, this is just poor. As LCL says though, the game will survive and move on……


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 24, 2018 / 9:38 pm

      I stayed up to all hours to watch that Aussie side. Lord I hated them but bloody hell they were good to watch. I knew I was watching a great team with great players.

      This is mad. Quite mad. And it’s the sheer madness of it why positions are untenable. How can you respect a leadership group that discusses blatant rule breaking and gets the young one to do it? It’s amazing.


      • Rohan Mar 24, 2018 / 9:47 pm

        Yes Mad, that’s the best way to describe it, madness, utter madness. Just where do you start, what was Smith thinking to end up where they are…..


      • Mark Mar 24, 2018 / 9:50 pm

        Sky haven’t got a Verdict tonight because there was so little play from NZ. What a night to miss out on.


        • Rohan Mar 24, 2018 / 9:54 pm

          Imagine what Bob Willis would have to say if he was on the verdict….


          • oreston Mar 24, 2018 / 10:32 pm

            RGD coming in off a long run. A sight to behold…


          • oreston Mar 24, 2018 / 11:23 pm

            Alastair’s fumbling interview technique doesn’t get any better, does it? How did someone who can’t even front up properly to the media ever become England captain? (I pose this merely as a rhetorical question…) If only he could speak as well as his near namesake, the late Alistair Cooke.


          • Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 12:00 am

            What the frig is the matter with Agnew? He is obsessed with Cook.

            Earth to Agnew…Cook is not the captain anymore. Hardly anyone with an IQ of over 60 gives shit what Cook has to say about anything.


          • oreston Mar 25, 2018 / 12:24 am

            Root was probably too busy drafting a resignation statement for potential use in a press conference at the end of this series. Then and only then can England’s GOAT, the lamb birthing, deer slaying former Craptain Iron Rod assume his rightful position once more. On a caretaker basis…


          • Rohan Mar 25, 2018 / 7:55 am

            Listening to that Cook interview I have to ask how? How did he last so long as captain, regardless of playing/captaining performance, just purely on a ‘being able to talk’ level or string a sentence together!


  12. BoredInAustria Mar 24, 2018 / 9:54 pm

    Qantas is proud to be the Official Airline of Cricket Australia.
    The Spirit of Australia

    Liked by 2 people

    • oreston Mar 24, 2018 / 10:34 pm

      I’m guessing it would be too much to expect them to reconsider that particular endorsement.


  13. Mark Mar 24, 2018 / 10:01 pm

    Cricinfo used to have a little box where the latest tweets from cricketers could be read. Seems to have been abobdoned in the redesign. I can’t find it. Shame, on a day like this it would be worth reading.


  14. Benny Mar 24, 2018 / 10:15 pm

    Can’t help but think that any team that has to resort to abuse and cheating has acknowledged they’re not good enough to win normally


  15. Mark Mar 24, 2018 / 10:19 pm

    Here Smith consults The leadership group for advice.


  16. Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 12:45 am

    Fair play to Sky, we give them a hard time sometimes, but the team has been bang on with their review of yellow device gate.

    What seems to be taking shape is nobody has any anytime for theAussie antics. There is no sympathy for them.

    Bumble makes the point that the Aussie Attack got a lot of reverse swing in the Ashes. (Cough, cough.)

    Doesn’t sound like the Aussie public is too happy either.


    • northernlight71 Mar 25, 2018 / 2:05 am

      Mike Selvey thinks it ought to be allowed. He’ll be keeping his head down for the next few days, I’m guessing 🙂


        • Scrim Mar 25, 2018 / 2:36 am

          I was watching that bogan sitting next to Lehmann early on day 3 before this blew up, wondering how he continues to steal a living.

          He’s got priors too. My state team has been crossed by him personally ball tampering. As Victoria coach in 2016 he was caught picking the ball up after a boundary and scraping it in the concrete gutter during the Shield final vs South Australia, incurring a 5 run penalty.

          Of course if we’re wiping out 2017/18 Ashes due to the ball tampering mastermind, we’ll have to to wipe out 2010/11 as well 😉


          • Scrim Mar 25, 2018 / 4:43 am

            Oops, got my fat Victorian medium fast bowlers from the late 90s/early 2000s mixed up. It was Mick Lewis, bowling coach under head coach Saker.


  17. Sri.grins Mar 25, 2018 / 2:24 am

    Guys and Girls,

    There is a great poet called thiruvalluvar in tamil who lived a few thousand years ago who got it right.

    When you deal with someone on a transgression be sure you are not in the wrong similarly.

    All cricket teams have practiced ball tampering overtly or covertly. I am sure the English team has done the same thing in the past.

    I also remember the Anderson jadeja incident and how the English press and fans supported Jimmy.

    I understand English fans have previous with Oz and that it is good to now lampoon Oz when they are in trouble but to post as if all other teams are angels and Oz the only guilty team is inappropriate.

    All teams from India to Bangladesh have tried to twist incidents to suit their narrative.

    I agree that bancroft should be punished as well as Smith and Warner but I don’t see England punishing severely any of their players who have transgressed. So, to try and take an axe to the Oz team is uncalled for.

    If the Oz press is full of hypocrites, so is the press in each of our countries. If the modi z team has cheats, simply do the players of our countries.


    • Sri.grins Mar 25, 2018 / 2:27 am

      Read the last statement as

      If the Oz team has cheats, so do the teams of our countries.


      • LordCanisLupus Mar 25, 2018 / 2:42 am

        Think you are missing the point. Very few, if any, on here believe our team are angels. Far from it. We’re not laughing and pointing out Australia cricket for cheating. It’s their holier than thou attitude. It’s their definition of the line. It’s the sanctimony. It’s telling others they are right and we are not. We are laughing because they’ve been caught. And the Aussie public appears to have taken this very badly and turned against them.

        An example.


        • Sri.grins Mar 25, 2018 / 2:57 am

          I would disagree and say that fans and teams of all countries practice the holier than thou attitude.

          I would agree with you on sledging and the line that Oz are the primary guilty party but not on this. On being a hypocrite, all teams, fans and press have been hypocrites mostly when it suits them and thus I think it is not apt to call out only Oz on hypocrisy. Hypocrisy on ‘the line’ yes, hypocrisy on ball tampering, press one eyed bias, fan one eyed bias, player punishments, no as all our teams are as guilty as Oz.


          • LordCanisLupus Mar 25, 2018 / 2:05 am

            Take a look at how the Australian fans are reacting. More strongly than i am. Betrayed is coming up everywhere. You are arguing apples and oranges.

            If that is Joe Root doing that, I want him sacked. We have a director of cricket who puts trust above all else. If that happens the coach needs to go too. Then the player takes his punishment from the ICC and it is up to the authorities to determine further repercussions.

            No-one I know of is saying my team does not do it but they do. We have been critical, I have been critical, of this England team’s conduct. I can’t warm to Jimmy Anderson because of it. Incredibly uncomfortable over the Jadeja incident. The ICC can only administer their rules. It is for Australia to determine what happens with their key posts. Smith is a dead man walking if the feedback I’m seeing is correct.


          • Rohan Mar 25, 2018 / 8:03 am

            Totally agree with LCL. The England team have players who are just as bad and, as a result, are difficult to like. As you say, Anderson is a prime example and I am afraid I do find him smug and holier than thou and it’s wrong. I think, however, Aus really fired this whole thing up. Yes sledging etc. was always there, but Aus took it to a new level and acted as the ‘keepers’ those in charge of this imaginary law…


          • LordCanisLupus Mar 25, 2018 / 8:23 am

            Most teams give it some verbal. I don’t like it, but then that doesn’t matter.

            Australia are the only team, that I am aware of, who glory in it. Who make it part of the team chemistry and tell you about it. The only team that verbalise it as a strategy. Mental disintegration, the likes of Haddin pronouncing he’d get into New Zealand in the Final, the works. No team is angelic, even New Zealand, but there is a difference between “heat of the moment” verbals (again, no fan, grow up), and going out there to glory in it. When you then get the hump if people have a pop at you for it. When you and your enablers (and how fun is it to see them turn) make it something to use as a stick to beat opposition teams with. Dare complain that they cross the line and you are labelled weak, crying because you are losing and mentally disintegrated.

            Once people get over that this is not really about ball tampering, but Australia’s chooks coming home to roost, then we’ll all be better off. The moral high ground is surrounded by very slippery slopes. The Aussies might have thought they could define it, they now know they can’t and won’t be able to (or shouldn’t). Maybe the enablers will prevent it this time. I hope so.


      • Escort Mar 25, 2018 / 2:15 am

        Do they?


  18. Sri.grins Mar 25, 2018 / 2:20 am

    I was a spectator from the D stand in chepauk stadium in madras as it was then when the incident reported bedi and Vaseline happened.

    Of course, I have been assured by Mr. Selvey that bedi was a whiner and lever completely innocent ☺ even as late as a few years ago.

    As far as I know, bedi paid the penalty for speaking out as the bcci were also rans at that time. Of course, the version of the English team was, is and will be the truth and of course bedi was a compulsive liar.☺

    As far as indignant tweets by Oz fans are concerned, I am sure there were indignant tweets about stokes by English fans, kohli by Indian fans and others on his behavior and so not. I don’t want to rely on the tweets to draw my conclusions.

    The Oz team management and bancroft deserve to be punished. ICC needs to figure out how to control ball tampering, maybe make it a one year ban offence, use technology whatever.

    But, it is not fair to only come down on Oz on ball tampering. I end my arguments with this on this topic.


  19. Scrim Mar 25, 2018 / 2:23 am

    I am actually up at 4 in the morning thinking about this.

    We’ve got a cracker series and a good test in the balance, and an Australian team packed with young talent that is on the up. I’ve got a Sunday with stay inside weather coming up, but I suddenly have no desire to watch.

    All teams tamper with the ball to some extent, and there is some grey area in this regard. But something so cynical, preplanned and obvious is impossible to stomach. I haven’t worked out what I think is an appropriate punishment yet, but I’ll be astounded if Steve Smith is there at the coin toss for the fourth test.


  20. Pontiac Mar 25, 2018 / 4:11 am

    It’s just so stupid and contemptible all in one. Rolling in as visitors on a tour, ones who are getting paid multiples of what the opposition gets, at the pinnacle of their careers in an organized and premeditated fashion and thinking that it is in any way worth it to pull such shit and they won’t get caught doing it. 10 years from now are they going to be proud of it? What the hell were they thinking? It’s a decision sprung from rotten minds.

    Of course, these days we have those who have 10 million already betray their country so they can have 11 million – so perhaps in this respect as in other ones cricket is merely holding up a mirror to the short term, stupid, destructive greed we see in so many other people and organizations that hold themselves as repositories of honor and wisdom.


  21. dlpthomas Mar 25, 2018 / 5:16 am

    I think you will find that the majority of the local media and fans are going to be furious with Smith and the “leadership group”. One segment on TV this morning concluded that Smith sounded like he was sorry about being caught rather than being sorry for cheating. It will be interesting to see the response of the ACB.

    Meanwhile, a game of cricket has broken out in New Zealand. Cook out cheaply to a ball wide down the leg side – a rather fitting end to a short but ugly innings.


  22. Scrim Mar 25, 2018 / 5:57 am

    Never mind Cricket Australia.

    The Prime Minister has already weighed in

    And the government-run Australian Sports Commission has already called for Smith and all others involved to be stood down.


    • Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 7:54 am

      Derek Pringle on Twitter ……”Australia’s PM needs to concentrate on politics, hardly squeaky clean after all. There are protocols for ball tampering – umpires change ball and five run penalty handed to offending side. Get on with the game.”

      Oh, only the anointed ones can speak on cricket issues hey Derek? The high priest morons in the English media who have been wrong about almost everything for the last five years? People like you? And your chums in the free seats?

      I’m sure your position has nothing to do with who the Australian bowling coach is! Or is his official title……assistant coach? Remember him? By the way is he on the leadership group?

      As Dmitri said ……The Contrarians are out in force. And they are the usual suspects. Can’t they get anything right?

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Amit Mar 25, 2018 / 7:31 am

    Nothing will do more disservice to test cricket than a top team caught cheating with captain in the know.


  24. LordCanisLupus Mar 25, 2018 / 7:39 am

    Alastair Cook made 2.

    Watch out Mark. They are after you.


    • Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 8:00 am

      What, like Mitchell Johnson did to Cook in 2014, and he kept hooking it up in the air?

      Funny I don’t remember you using the word mug then.


    • thebogfather Mar 25, 2018 / 12:51 pm

      Newman was at it too…


  25. dlpthomas Mar 25, 2018 / 8:14 am

    They showed an interview with Greg Chappell during the tea break and he discusses the under-arm incident. He talked about the pressure of being captain and said “I was a wreck. I wasn’t fit to captain a rowboat let alone Australia”. He then said he knew it wouldn’t be well received “but I didn’t care at that stage”. He summed it up by saying “I should have sort some help long before it got to that point.” You could be cynical and argue that this is just a well rehearsed spiel that Chappell uses to get some sympathy but I think there is probably some truth to it. Which brings me to Smith.

    Smith is a stress-head who in my opinion should never have been made captain (I would have picked Warner which shows how little I know). It has been well documented that he only sleeps a few hours during a test match and he seems to struggle to keep his emotions under control when on the field. After a long summer and now in the middle of a difficult series, it is easy to imagine that Smith, like Chappell, is a wreck and has made a stupid decision that he will be reminded of for the rest of his life. This does not excuse his actions or those of the others involved in the decision. He should be sacked as captain and suspended from the team. However, I do have some sympathy for him.

    Being a test cricket captain may not involve the same amount of pressure as a “a Messerschmitt up your arse” but is does involve pressure. Some people just can’t handle it.

    And as an aside, am I the only who is not convinced that was a piece of tape in Bancroft’s hand?


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 25, 2018 / 8:30 am

      In a way, I do feel sorry for Smith. He’s at the fulcrum of something that’s been building for years. I’m not sure you can resign mid-test, but I’d be very surprised if he’s in post for the 4th test. Incidentally, Australia have sent out their Head of Integrity to deal with this. How far is cricket disappearing up its own arse? From all I’ve seen Smith seems to go along with the nonsense, and not instigate it (but he’s hardly an angel on the field – have a problem with the way he deals with umpires). Maybe Warner is the real problem here.

      And as I write this…

      Wow. Just wow. And Root gets out.


      • dlpthomas Mar 25, 2018 / 11:46 am

        A message from James Sutherland

        To our Australian Cricket Fans,

        We are sorry.

        We are sorry that you had to wake up this morning to news from South Africa that our Australian Men’s Cricket team and our Captain admitted to conduct that is outside both the Laws of our game and the Spirit of Cricket.

        This behaviour calls into question the integrity of the team and Cricket Australia.

        Following discussions with Steve Smith and David Warner they have agreed to stand down as Captain and Vice-Captain respectively for the remainder of this Test match.

        As I said at a media conference earlier today, Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect high standards from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met.

        We know how you feel and have heard your feedback loud and clear. We share your anger and disappointment.

        As you would be aware, we have launched an immediate investigation into what transpired in Cape Town, and our Head of Integrity is travelling to South Africa as we speak.

        All Australians, like us, want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings, as a matter of urgency.

        James Sutherland
        Chief Executive Officer – Cricket Australia


        • Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 11:57 am

          Is it just me or does a position called (The head of Integrity) sound like a character out of a Marx brothers film?

          It doesn’t say much about Australian cricket that they have created a job with that title. Do they not select coaches, managers , and captains who have some integrity already?


          • dlpthomas Mar 25, 2018 / 12:16 pm

            I agree – quite bizzare


        • BoredInAustria Mar 25, 2018 / 12:10 pm

          Director comma Trust?

          Liked by 1 person

  26. BoredInAustria Mar 25, 2018 / 8:29 am

    Among all this depressing news, some hope.I loved this clip from the Protea sponsors – and with the emergence of Rabada and Ngidi this rings true. A hard call in SA but let us hope they do manage to grow the game.


  27. Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 8:49 am

    I can’t understand how the usual suspects are so contrite with ball tampering. Yes, I know it has gone on for decades. (So has murder) And yes, everybody has done it. Has it ever occurred to these people that maybe the ICC have got it wrong that this is a level two offence that carries a 5 run penalty? As Bumble said if you are 450/5 what difference does a five run penalty make.

    If the authorities think changing the composition of the ball is not a big deal why don’t they instruct the manufacturers to make a ball that has one side heavier than the other from the start?


  28. Sri.grins Mar 25, 2018 / 9:04 am

    Smith and Warner stood down.


    • oreston Mar 25, 2018 / 9:53 am

      So far (as I understand it) only for the remainder of the present Test match and while CA are doing their investigation. Whether it becomes permanent we’ll have to see. I still think that would be the nuclear option from CA’s point of view. I’m not saying they SHOULDN’T be sacked, just that I think it would be extraordinary if they were. There’s always the possibility that the board will feel they have no choice because of external (including political) pressure. Think what this would do to the Aussie team…


  29. LordCanisLupus Mar 25, 2018 / 9:07 am

    A piece by Greg Baum is getting lauded by the journo colleagues. It’s pretty standard but does name the leadership team (Smith, Warner, Lyon, Hazlewood and Starc).

    But the absolute state of this paragraph…

    Traditionally, the cricket team carries that standard. Its role is now forfeit. The 1981 underarm incident, to which all referred on Sunday, was ugly, but not against the rules. Nor was Bodyline. But ball-tampering using a foreign agent is, calculatedly, wilfully, brazenly so. Australian cricketers have not been credibly implicated in match-fixing, and only for vanity’s sake in illegal drugs. In that context, Saturday’s crime was the most egregious of all.

    Is Greg Baum the only one out there that believes a well-known masking agent taken by a sportsman undertaking a rapid recovery programme from a shoulder injury to make the World Cup was “for vanity’s sake”?

    Bodyline put as a moral equivalence to a decision to bowl an underarm off the last ball of the game.

    The blanket no match fixing statement.

    They really are part of the problem. Hope some Aussie equivalent of BOC is taking the chance to make comment on their media.

    I’d got that far before I read this one…

    The Australian team doesn’t get that as the bad blood boils, it might yet have to deal with a riot in Johannesburg. South African fans are not famously sanguine in these matters.

    No, Greg. You don’t get it. You have a piece about your team not getting it, but then say something like this shit. You press boys are mightily easily impressed.


    • Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 9:27 am

      The Aussie media including their Prime Minister only sees the offence of ball tampering. They don’t see what this is really about. Ball tampering is against the rules, sledging is just banter, and the Aussies get to draw their own line.

      By all accounts Warner subjects a batsman to sledding for an entire session, (nothing to see here) then when someone makes a barb about his wife and he wants to fight him. Who gets to decide the topics for the sledge? Apparently the Aussies do. They have their own selection of hand made sledges hanging in their garage which can be brought out for the right occasion. But they also have veto on everybody else’s sledge.


      • Rohan Mar 25, 2018 / 12:23 pm

        Mark that comment about sledges in the garage made me 😂


  30. BoredInAustria Mar 25, 2018 / 9:10 am

    Am I to understand Paine is not part of the Leadership Team….


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 25, 2018 / 9:36 am

      Baum, in his over-rated article, suggests it is Smith, Warner, Lyon, Hazlewood and Starc. I thought Lyon would have been next in line, after Dumb and Dumber, so seems to confirm this.

      But let’s not forget that they were stupid to do this because Joburg crowds have such little self control that they’ll riot.


      • Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 9:43 am

        According to Michael Clark in that morning interview he gave……what has changed in Aussie cricket is the role of the coach/management. He claims that it used to be the captain who had full control, now the coach has moved into that area.

        But apparently the coach and his deputies knew nothing about all this. My question is then why pay coaches all this money if they are completely clueless as to what is going on?


      • BoredInAustria Mar 25, 2018 / 12:42 pm

        ICC just doing Smith a favor and saving him from the mob at Wanderers….


  31. Miami Dad's 6 Mar 25, 2018 / 9:11 am

    You could write a ton on this issue.

    Ball tampering is legal in the sense that shining one side on your trousers is fine. But it is illegal to be using a foreign object to alter the ball. It has been said that teams with a zip built into their trouser pocket tend to get more reverse swing, are they cheating?

    In general, a swinging ball is interesting to watch. Maybe we ought to just look at a new ball after say 60 overs instead if 80 as it is now. Thats 20 overs less of an incentive to push for illegally obtained reverse swing.


  32. Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 10:08 am

    Ist day of scandal…..Steve Smith…… I won’t be resigning.
    2nd day of scandal…Steve Smith…… Well, on reflection I will be resigning, but only for the remainder of this match.
    End of match…………Steve Smith…………..

    To be continued……


  33. Zephirine Mar 25, 2018 / 11:11 am

    Sri has a point, every team has broken the rules and each time, everyone else is sanctimonious about it.

    But ‘pre-arranged’ is the big difference. Even the example Scrim gives of giving the ball a scuff on the concrete before throwing it back in, while reprehensible, is an opportunistic offence. This wasn’t.

    There’s an offence in English law of ‘going equipped to steal’ – if you’re caught on someone else’s front doorstep with a crowbar and a bunch of lock-picks, you can’t claim a sudden impulse came over you, nor can you get off because you didn’t actually steal anything. This was ‘going equipped to ball-tamper’, and what’s startling is the prior decision to do it and the knowledge of the method involved. If it was home-made sandpaper using sticky tape, that suggests a certain amount of previous testing and experimentation to arrive at the technique.

    The other thing that’s startling is the stupidity. They weren’t even being taken in by a crafty fake sheik, they thought it up all by their dim little selves.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Rohan Mar 25, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    When Atherton used dirt in his pocket, did he resign, was he sacked or did he stay on as Captain, can’t remember. I remember the fine and watching the test and then the way it was headline news…..any similarities here?

    The other thing I was mulling over, is that perhaps sledging is so ingrained in the Aussie game and psyche (I imagine it’s prevalent in all levels of cricket over there, certainly read a lot about how tough grade cricket is) that they can’t be objective about it and see that it may be a problem. I am not trying to defend it, but maybe have some sympathy if this is the case. Once it becomes a natural thing to do it’s hard to see what’s wrong with it.


    • Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 1:40 pm

      From memory The Atherton case really split the cricket media here. The broadsheet newspapers were of the opinion he should go. Mr J Agnew of the BBC was very tough on him, and called for him to resign if guilty.

      The tabloids on the other hand didn’t seem to have too much trouble with it, and attacked Agnew for calling for Atherton to resign.

      Atherton in turn called certain sections of the media the gutter press. This didn’t go down well with Richie. I think Atherton later apologised for that remark.

      Can’t remember what his punishment was, but he did keep his job long term.


  35. thebogfather Mar 25, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    Aw, c’mon BOC, can’t we get back to more curmudgeonly, obsessive, ECB related important things like Sheep’s off balance (not Gary) waft to a wide leg side ball and thus yet again failing to offer much solidity in a 4th innings battle?


    • Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Take out his Melbourne innings (one of the greatest ever according to the experts) and his average in the last few tests is shocking.

      But TINA. That was not true of his captaincy, but there are not that many other openers around, and the high priest don’t appear to like Stoneman.


  36. Mark Mar 25, 2018 / 1:46 pm

    Wouldnt it be typically cricket if Warner, Bancroft, and Smith get the Aussies home to a victory?


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