Rubble, Muddle, Toil and Trouble

England picked a good week to be bowled out for 58.  Whatever the embarrassment of their likely defeat in Auckland, it’s going to be overshadowed by the events at Newlands. Still, at the very least, they can point to their predicament being one of ineptitude rather than nefariousness, which in the current climate is an achievement of sorts. 

The only reason England aren’t already 1-0 down is because of the weather, and it is a reflection of how disastrous their match position was that the loss of nearly two days play still has them likely to lose.  They put up a fairly decent display overall, but by this point of proceedings it requires miracle days to even up the ledger.

Henry Nicholls, batting for the fourth day in a row in this Test, made his highest first class score to take New Zealand to 427-8 at the declaration,  while for England Stuart Broad bowled pretty well, keeping things tight and picking up wickets.  It always seems strange to praise a bowler for keeping things tight, but in the circumstance of trying to keep a deficit down and limit batting time for your own side, it turns all bowlers into negative containing types rather than wicket takers.  Given the pitch was still decent for batting – and after all only two days old in reality – they could have been forgiven for cursing their own batsmen repeatedly for their profligacy as they laboured to create any chance of note. When you’ve been bowled out for 58 in a good surface is not the time to criticise the lack of penetration in the bowling attack, reasonable general point though it might be.

One sided Tests are never particularly interesting, and they only become so when it gets to the meat of the second innings, watching the usually doomed attempts to stave off defeat.  Invariably, teams bat better second time round, equally invariably they still lose.  Thus it was that England certainly made a better fist of things, while at the same time still looking like there was only one outcome.  Cook fell early again to complete a poor Test match – note that much comment once again referred to Root’ s conversion problem rather than Cook’s lack of runs over the last couple of years.  Melbourne still looks like an outlier.

Stoneman and Root set about compiling a partnership, but fell late on, the captain to the last ball of the day one delivery after taking a painful blow on the hand.  Root is clearly deeply frustrated at his habit of not going on to make big scores when well set, but England’s problems are deeper set than one batsman failing to make the most of being in.

Assuming the weather stays fair, seven wickets should be well within New Zealand’s capability, and while it’s always possible that there will be a repeat of Matt Prior’s heroics last time, England neither deserve a draw nor do they give off the impression of a team capable of it.  

Naturally enough, the post play interviews spent as much time talking about the conduct of the Australian team as the match itself.  Stuart Broad was clearly itching to give them both barrels and barely contained his amusement at the predicament in which they find themselves.  He did manage to make a few pertinent points concerning hypocrisy and his own treatment at the hands of the crowd, which is neither here nor there, but at the behest of the Australian coach, which is. He also took the opportunity to imply that it isn’t the first time Australia have altered the state of the ball, couching it in a dig about being surprised that this is supposedly the first time they’ve acted this way by saying he didn’t see why they’d changed a method that had hitherto been working.  Broad is often good value in these circumstances, given that Aussie baiting is something he is unquestionably good at, but it doesn’t mean his words should be taken as being any more objectively true than those of Darren Lehmann. Yet it is also true that footage of Bancroft putting sugar in his pockets during the Ashes emerged overnight – which is something Australia are going to have to get used to as people scour the footage for evidence of previous attempts.

The reaction to the pre-meditated ball tampering has been interesting.  Australian supporters are aghast, ashamed and in shock, which perhaps highlights self perception of the way Australia are meant to play cricket in their eyes.  Outside the country it’s rather different, a deep sense of amusement and schadenfreude at the self-appointed arbiters of cricketing morality caught out deliberately cheating.

For the crime is not the worst that could have been committed, reflected in it being a Level 2 or at most Level 3 offence in the ICC disciplinary code.  One of the peculiarities of cricket remains the mobile moral code that considers some actions to be reprehensible and others part of the game, even when all are intended to gain an illegal advantage or deceive the umpires.  Ball tampering appears to be one of those where self righteous outrage is a common response to something most teams have been guilty of at various times.  Perhaps the greatest outrage is reserved for those who are caught.

There are a few exceptional circumstances to this one.  Many instances of it tend to be in the heat of the moment, rather than as here a deliberate plan concocted by the “leadership group” of the Australian team, the exception being in the legal dubious but impossible to police tactic of enhancing saliva through the sucking of sweets.  In that sense the mea culpa from Smith created more questions than answers.  His refusal to name names as to who was involved is not sustainable; the match referee and ICC will want to know who is to be punished, and a no comment won’t fly.  Equally, it beggars belief that Darren Lehmann wasn’t aware of any of it, the giveaway being the speed with which he radioed the 12th man to inform Bancroft he’d been caught.  Lastly on this particular element it is astounding that apparently not one player or staff member pointed out that this was a terrible idea, either for moral reasons or the simple practicality that being caught was so likely.  David Lloyd’s assertion that Australia are “out of control” is never more strongly supported than by the total absence of anyone with either a moral compass or a well developed sense of self-preservation. Above all else, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the leadership group are severely challenged in the mental department.

Smith is finished as captain, as is Warner as vice captain.  There is absolutely no prospect of them surviving this, the reaction from Australia has been so negative, and so angry, that it is merely a matter of time before both go, the only question being whether Cricket Australia will allow them to resign rather than sacking them.  There is simply no prospect of them remaining that is remotely sustainable – every time Australia gain reverse swing they will be alleged to be cheating, every time they claim a low catch they will again be called cheats, irrespective of the truth.  The stupidity of their actions means that for the next decade this will be thrown at them at every opportunity.  It is a PR catastrophe to which there’s only one response.

James Sutherland held a press conference overnight where he issued the usual platitudes about being aghast at what had happened, but he also made the interesting comment that he’d had cause to speak to Smith before about the behaviour of the team.  In the first instance this suggests either that it was hardly a bollocking or on the other that it was ignored by the team to the extent that they felt ball tampering was a reasonable response to the concerns.  Doubling up on things is an oddly impressive response in a sense.  Either Cricket Australia didn’t care about the stench of hypocrisy emanating from Australian cricket, or the team didn’t care what he thought.  Both reinforce the out of control criticism.

Few international sides are angels, and most have behaved poorly at different times, not least England.  But no others have taken it upon themselves to define how everyone else should behave and claim the moral high ground even when it is a laughable position.  Prior to these particular events, they had complained bitterly about the treatment of the players (and players’ wives) at the hands of the South African crowds.  And fair enough too, it was unedifying – but for the complaint to come from a side whose coach had openly called for Australian crowds to send Stuart Broad home in tears, it was another example of an extraordinarily lacking in self awareness perception as being the good guys, oblivious as to how they were seen elsewhere.

There is no reason to assume that the ball tampering was a regular act – though equally the protestations that this was the first time it had ever happened were greeted with derision given this is the response every time Australia are caught out doing something wrong – but Australia’s behaviour during the Ashes left a lot to be desired, as did the pious manner in which they justified themselves.  This speaks to the heart of the difference between self image and outside observation, and explains precisely the glee with which this has been received outside Australia.  Ball tampering is a relatively minor matter, hypocrisy is not, and it is the hypocrisy that has resonated.  Furthermore, the outrage from the Australian media raises plenty of eyebrows given their unstinting support for every dig and complaint issued from the team.  They have been the propaganda arm of Australian cricket far too often to now react with outrage At the team going one step too far.

At the time of writing, news broke that Smith had been suspended from the fourth Test and fined his match fee.  This is merely the beginning for him.  For the sake of trying to gain a tactical advantage in one Test he has damned himself for the rest of his career as a cheat, and if Any sympathy is to be extended in his direction, it is that one crass decision is going to haunt his career, not because of his guilt, but because of the pre-planned, deliberate nature of the offence.  Any penalties he receives from the ICC or Cricket Australia pale into insignificance compared to the reputational damage to himself.  Some have commented that he deserves some credit for fronting up and accepting his guilt at the press conference, but he spent more time talking about being embarrassed than he did apologising, indicating he still didn’t realise quite what they had done.  Equally, Cameron Bancroft was largely thrown under a bus, making it somewhat apposite that Sutherland then did the same to Smith.

As for Bancroft himself, being a junior player is no excuse whatever.  Everyone knows the rights and wrongs of something like this, and volunteering to be the patsy suggests a complete lack of perspective and intelligence.  It comes back again to being astounding that no one appears to have objected to the plan.

Over the longer term this may well benefit Australia, serving as a correction to their recent overbearing nature.  For everyone else it doesn’t offer the slightest opportunity to jump on to the moral high ground so rapidly vacated.  All teams have been behaving poorly in one manner of another and none of them can claim to be the wronged party on a regular basis.  Equally, and taking into account that this still isn’t the worst crime to have committed on the cricket field, it provides an opportunity for the authorities to clamp down hard on some attitudes and confrontational acts that have been pissing off a lot of people all around the world.  

National teams are not a law unto themselves.  This represents an opportunity to reinforce that point 

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113 thoughts on “Rubble, Muddle, Toil and Trouble

  1. dlpthomas March 25, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    “Furthermore, the outrage from the Australian media raises plenty of eyebrows given their unstinting support for every dig and complaint issued from the team”

    There have been a few journalists, such as Robert Craddock, who have been questioning the behavior of the Australian team for a while. However, they are a minority.

    Like

  2. alecpaton March 25, 2018 / 2:05 pm

    You’ve gotta feel sorry for the Aussie cricket fans.

    They’ve spent 3, rain hindered days waiting for the denouement in the Eden Park test, knowing that finally 3 years of English jokes have finally come crashing down around them. Then they wake up on Sunday morning, only to find that even more and better ammunition has been provided to Birmingham’s pissed up fans in the Eric Hollies Stand

    Like

  3. Mark March 25, 2018 / 2:11 pm

    Bancroft is run out. He was thrown under the bus this time by Warner. It’s not been a very good 24 hours.

    Like

  4. Sri.grins March 25, 2018 / 2:14 pm

    This comment may not be popular but I think it has to be said.

    The only point that resonated with me was the comment that this blow up is not about ball tampering but an outcome of the hypocrisy shown by Oz coming home to roost.

    Dravid, faf (twice) Atherton, kohli (unpunished) are examples.

    If any poster wishes to claim that the Oz ball tampering was preplanned and that in the above mentioned examples, it was attempted by the players in the heat of the moment and the captain, coach and the leadership group of the team concerned were not in the know about ball tampering, I own a lovely building called Taj Mahal in Agra which I would love to sell to the person concerned for the equivalent of just 1 million us dollars. ☺

    I spend a lot more time on this site than even on guardian or cricinfo because I respect the posters and the view points and the fair and balanced approach that they usually exhibit.

    Unfortunately, on this issue instead of saying that we wish to slam Oz on ball tampering because of their hypocrisy on sledging (I can accept that even if I don’t agree with the perspective), saying that Oz ball tampering is in some way preplanned unlike when India, England, sa, Pakistan etc do it, I think it is a bit rich and not fair and balanced

    My apologies if my comments are seen as harsh

    Liked by 3 people

    • thelegglance March 25, 2018 / 2:19 pm

      Why on earth would anyone mind you having a different opinion?? It’s a discussion board! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • BoredInAustria March 25, 2018 / 2:30 pm

      As Oz is collapsing in a heap, just the following.

      It certainly is the hypocrisy of the Australians that makes the schadenfreude so big – “a line has been crossed”.

      The dismay in Australia seems directed at the players (how dare they, this is not Australian) rather than a realization that things are not as black and white as they had imagined, and they need to have a hard look at themselves. 4 years ago this very match was also played in the worst of spirits. It has been a long time coming.

      Nobody is coming out of this with any grace, and certainly cricket is the big loser. Hopefully this does raise some debate as to where exactly in modern cricket is the line. And finally Australia needs to admit they also have this problem,

      Like

      • @pktroll March 25, 2018 / 3:03 pm

        It is more that this is the straw that has broken the camels back. For me at least, I have far more problem with Lehmann et al whining and bitching about the abuse that his team receives when he seems to not have an issue with his team giving it out constantly from start to finish. So acting high and mighty around a highly movable line in the sand and then not showing any integrity in another aspect is finally doing real damage as to the way that this team are seen. For what it is worth I have real respect for this group of Aussie bowlers. Far less the likes of Warner who really would have his comeuppance if someone knocked him out.

        Like

    • oreston March 25, 2018 / 5:11 pm

      You have a point, but of course the cricket authorities can only act on what they’re able to prove – so who knows to what extent instances of ball tampering by other teams have been pre-planned and not just a spontaneous act by a single player? Sure we can all have our suspicions, but it’s about proving it. The extraordinary thing here is that Smith came right out and admitted the conspiracy. Several have said that Bancroft was thrown under a bus. Not sure that’s true. He was always going to face scrutiny once his actions were seen on camera (by a foreign broadcast network) but if Smith was really going to throw him under a bus he could have fronted it out, acted as though the whole thing started and ended with Bancroft and STFU about his own role and that of the “management group.” Of course nobody would’ve believed him and Bancroft could’ve made counter allegations. It would’ve gotten ugly in a whole different way. Maybe that’s why he instead admitted the involvement of other senior players – hoping to water down his own culpability by means of misplaced collective responsibility. If so it was a bold (if shameless) gamble which looks now like it might have misfired badly. Or maybe he’s just mentally shot and sick and tired of all the bullshit. If he ever publishes memoirs they should make interesting reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez March 26, 2018 / 9:48 am

        Cricket authorities have acted on controversies without evidence.
        One example would be the forfeited Test of 2006. No video evidence has ever emerged of ball tampering, and yet the ICC has ruled the game a forfeit (even long after the game concluded) (and thus an England win), rather than a draw. Apparently it is “cricket” when the umpires accuse a team of cheating without evidence.

        One problem is that rulesets are vague, and references to the spirit of cricket are meaningless, in the sense that what is unfair according to one set of people, is completely fair to another. An obvious example would be Mankading. The rest of the world is okay with it, England seem not okay with it. References to the Spirit of the game don’t really resolve the issue.

        I am sure a few episodes of “chucking” by Muralitharan, were also rather dubious according to the rule-sets at the time. Likewise, the non-calling of chucking that quicks must have engaged in from time to time according to the current rule-set. Not that they intend to, but if your average quick already has 10-12 degrees, then undoubtedly some deliveries that they contribute (and in the case of say Stuart Broad or Anderson, Starc, Bhuvi Kumar, Rabada, they deliver a few thousand a year) are illegal under the rules. Note, I am not accusing anyone of cheating. I can’t because obviously, I can’t accurately gauge the flex for every single delivery in match situations.

        It is just that the rules sometimes offer too little leeway and the enforcement of rules is utterly impossible, so you’re left with effectively subjective rules, and that of course makes acting without evidence a very common occurrence, just as not acting despite having ‘evidence’ is very common (of course the evidence is impossible to accurately obtain, due to non-live testing of flex).

        So acting without evidence is certainly not without a prior for the ICC. The rules need clarification and more precision.

        Like

  5. Rohan March 25, 2018 / 2:15 pm

    Watching Rabada bowl to Smith, great stuff!

    Like

    • Rohan March 25, 2018 / 2:22 pm

      At this Aus want be batting for long. Must be tough for them. I imagine they are mentally shot, would hate to be in their situation, even if it is self made….

      Like

  6. BoredInAustria March 25, 2018 / 2:48 pm

    I remember in the 80s watching Transvaal playing WP at Newlands. When wickets started falling the crowd did get worked up into a frenzy and the dynamic went towards the home team. I almost, just almost, feel for Oz….

    Like

  7. Riverman21 March 25, 2018 / 3:16 pm

    Worcester CCC Twitter feed congratulates Nathan Lyon on his landmark test wicket.
    Speechless!

    Like

  8. BoredInAustria March 25, 2018 / 3:27 pm

    Paine letting the Leadership Team face Morkel…

    Like

  9. Silk March 25, 2018 / 3:43 pm

    Brilliantly written. Nothing to add on the ball tampering.

    But the Australia cricket side have been hypocrites for a long time. McGrath having a go at Sarwan is the one that really stands out for me. “Don’t fucking mention my wife!”

    What started that off? McGrath asking Sarwan what Brian Lara’s cock tasted like. Charming.

    I hate sledging, whoever is doing it. But the Aussies are the only ones who think it’s fine to dish it out AND complain when they are on holiday receiving end.

    Which is a shame, as they have the skills. They could put the abuse away and be a champion team.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pontiac March 25, 2018 / 5:21 pm

      I was thinking of the same thing. And from McGrath not just once, but /repeatedly/ and in a cultural context where those are fighting words. The line, huh. Huh.

      That is the poster child for the kind of attitude that has come to roost here. And yes, it will take a decade maybe to pay down the debt accrued.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus March 25, 2018 / 5:34 pm

        Interesting quote from Gillespie..

        Beyond Smith and his vice-captain, David Warner, who is this leadership group? Were the coaches involved? We need this information and we need it yesterday, because I know of at least one senior player who is outraged that they have been dragged into the dirt by association without having been involved at all.

        Any guesses. Mine is South Australian connection Nathan Lyon.

        And The Debate has Mike Selvey on it tomorrow. Oh my goodness.

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        • oreston March 25, 2018 / 10:03 pm

          I’m assuming the group is Smith, Warner, Lyon and Starc. Probably not many other candidates. Could be interesting if any of them break ranks and challenge Smith’s version of events.

          Like

  10. Rohan March 25, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    Interesting read from the BBC website on ball tampering. This extract caught my attention, make of it what you will:

    The South Africa captain was caught on camera sucking on mints before using his saliva to shine the ball during the second Test against Australia.

    Du Plessis was found guilty of ball-tampering by the International Cricket Council. He had previously been fined half his match fee for scuffing the ball on the zip of his trousers against Pakistan in 2013.

    The charge did not result from any accusations by Australia but vice-captain David Warner told reporters afterwards: “We hold our heads high and I’d be very disappointed if one of our team members did that.

    “The rules are in place for a reason. If you’re not going to use them why bother having them?

    “If you’re going to overstep the mark, be prepared to get fined and miss Test matches.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rooto March 25, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    I had a long post lined up, half-agreeing with Sri and warning against too much Schadenfreude.
    Then I saw the Aussies had just lost 10 wickets for 50, and laughed so hard that I had to delete it.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Mark Farmer March 25, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    I remember Atherton and the dust in pocket.
    I remember Anderson.
    The moral high ground is an icy pinnacle.

    What I DO find astonishing is the press conference by Bancroft and Smith. The admission. The “leadership group”.

    It shows a terrible disconnect from reality. It should be a sacking offence for Lehman in itself. How could anyone think it was a good idea to front up like that. Lehman Must have been consulted about that. Crisis management done wrong o Mr wrong wrong wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dlpthomas March 25, 2018 / 11:42 pm

      I got the impression from the press conference that Smith has underestimated how serious this is. It is also worth remembering that no one has ever said that Smith is a rocket scientist.

      Like

      • northernlight71 March 26, 2018 / 8:35 am

        Smith might actually do well at Rocket Science. It’s pretty simple stuff, just applying Newton’s Third Law and all that.
        The problems would come if he tried to rough up one side of his rocket with sandpaper to help it achieve a stable orbit, I guess….

        Liked by 1 person

  13. metatone March 25, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    Perhaps I’ve been too influenced by Sri and Scrim, but if this stuff is all so well correlated with Saker teams getting reverse, I’m feeling a bit depressed about 2010/11 Ashes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan March 25, 2018 / 4:24 pm

      Same here. I am starting to wonder if it’s more widespread, but with many not been caught, than we realise. Definitely regards 2010/11….

      Like

      • thelegglance March 25, 2018 / 5:43 pm

        First time I’ve seen someone specifically mention Saker in this. Apart from Selvey’s comments about allowing ball tampering to be legal, which is an amusing juxtaposition given he’s his mate.

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        • Mark March 25, 2018 / 5:52 pm

          Well you will be delighted to know that Selvey will be on the verdict tomorrow night with Bob Willis. Charles Coleville just announced it.

          His sucking up to Sky seems to be slowly paying off.

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        • LordCanisLupus March 25, 2018 / 7:19 pm

          Let’s play tin foil hat conspiracy theorist.

          Lehmann is vocal about KP being a waste of money for the Melbourne Stars.

          Saker was part of the Mood Hoover unit.

          Doesn’t take too much to allow KP to stir the pot, does it?

          Like

          • oreston March 25, 2018 / 10:28 pm

            He’s also tweeted that he believes Lehmann and Saker’s positions ate “untenable.” Does he actually know stuff? Is he just stirring because the Aussies are playing SA? Is it payback time for Saker and Co.? Or is it all of the above? One thing’s clear: It’s going to be popcorn time as this situation plays out.

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  14. Sri.grins March 25, 2018 / 4:41 pm

    I respect Smith for fronting up and owning up knowing that it would hurt him. He could have just kept quit and bancroft would have taken the fine. After all, that’s what has happened to individual offenders so far.

    It was a pretty disaster but he did front up. Must be tough after all the talk on lines. So, some credit due.

    I wish I’m future teams would stop spouting pr lines about hard but fair and ethics but just fight hard on the field without being abusive

    Like

      • thelegglance March 25, 2018 / 4:48 pm

        It’s because CA have left themselves latitude in their regulations to take unprescribed action if they see fit. Kind of similar to a gross misconduct clause in a work contract. So yes technically a life ban is possible, but obviously grotesquely over the top in this instance.

        However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Smith and Warner got hefty suspensions, several months or even up to a year. Not so much because they deserve it but more because CA will need to be seen to take really strong action for PR reasons.

        Whether PR reasons is sufficient justification for such heavy punishment is a different matter.

        Like

        • Rooto March 25, 2018 / 5:38 pm

          Suddenly it seems the old line about captain of the national cricket team being the second most important job in Australia is just so much bullshit. Smith will feel the wrath of a disappointed nation and be slapped down because the money men in CA have future contracts to negotiate.

          Like

          • Rooto March 25, 2018 / 5:40 pm

            That was posted in haste.
            Perhaps I should wait and see if it comes to pass first!

            Like

  15. Mark March 25, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    I was wondering what we all feel about reverse swing, and what should be allowed. There is no doubt reverse swing makes the game very interesting particularly on flat pitches. But how much should the ball be allowed to be changed. After all, if you either scratch out one side of the ball or load up the other side with moisture to make it heavy isn’t that fundamentally changing the condition of the ball?

    Apparently Selvey thinks changing the ball condition to allow reverse swing should be made legal. But how far do you go? If the authorities are going to allow it why not have the manufacturers create a ball that is already altered on one side? I wonder if Selvey takes such a liberal view about burglars ? This may sound a flippant point but according to the laws you shouldn’t tamper with the ball apart from shinning.

    So what should the ICC allow?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto March 25, 2018 / 7:09 pm

      I think the ‘no foreign bodies’ line is a good one, but if this 24 hours of reaction has told us anything, it’s that the ICC’s ideas of ball-tampering being a level 2 offence worth 3 demerit points is waaaay behind the time.
      On the other hand, ‘not throwing the ball in on the bounce’ is stupid, unenforceable and not unnatural. That should be allowed. The umpires already inspect the ball pretty regularly, I suppose, so no need to change much, just to give the ‘policemen’ the tools and the backing to do the job.

      Like

      • Mark March 25, 2018 / 9:28 pm

        I think the ICC need to make it a more serious offence. It seems ludicrous to me that something that some people think is cheating, and life bans should be considered only gets a level 2 and a 5 run penalty.

        The problem is if you go down the Selvey route of allowing the ball to be altered where do you draw the line? And as we know….. the line seems to be fluid.

        Like

        • metatone March 25, 2018 / 9:36 pm

          The 5 run thing is wild when you consider that a really good reverse swing spell can easily = 2 wickets.

          Like

          • BobW March 26, 2018 / 9:09 am

            I remember the days of spinners roughing the ball up in the footmarks in front of the umpire and that was accepted as being the norm. Funnily enough that I do not have an issue with. Foreign objects like bottle tops etc then no. But I don’t think everyone will agree on this one.

            Like

          • thelegglance March 26, 2018 / 9:17 am

            This particular one is straightforward, because they used a foreign object, which has always been a no no, even if some got away with it in the past.

            The ones that are harder to both police and also to decide whether it’s acceptable are things like sweets. The ruling currently is that it’s ok as long as they’re not used directly on the ball, and that seems to me fairly reasonable, as much as anything because it’s the only practical way of dealing with it.

            I’m not sure it’s as complicated a law or playing condition as some suggest.

            Like

  16. Rohan March 25, 2018 / 7:36 pm

    A few articles have appeared on the BBC about all of this, their content and insight really makes me wonder if they read this place to get their ideas! It’s uncanny…..

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus March 25, 2018 / 7:57 pm

      No one reads us, we don’t care…

      As my football club’s song sort of goes.

      As Chris (and the rest of the team) knows from our conversations on whats app, I have strong views on certain social media scions, as well as the press and TV which we go into regularly. BBC Sport isn’t exactly a go to source, and we know that there is a different audience and requirement, and of course scope. We are, and have been told, many in the media read us. So who knows?

      Like

  17. Zephirine March 25, 2018 / 8:12 pm

    This is all about Australian exceptionalism, both in terms of the players’ mindset – which now seems to be that anything’s OK if Australia does it – and the Australian public’s outrage at being disgraced by their own very special world-beating cricketers.

    Since about the only nation in the world which can give the Aussies lessons in exceptionalist delusions is England, those of us who are England supporters should indeed be avoiding the moral high ground. After all, no Australian player is currently awaiting trial in a criminal court, as far as I know.

    But even from the grey area on the sidelines which is our rightful home… you gotta smirk.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Mark March 25, 2018 / 8:35 pm

    When you see the players reaction on the field, and in the pavilion when they get caught on camera they are laughing. To try to claim that only a few knew what was going on is disingenerous to say the least.

    They got busted, and had no choice but to own up. However, I believe they are still misleading the public by claiming there was a only a small group involved. The problem with that is if they can’t tell the truth about this why should we believe them when they claim that they never did this before?

    A lot of suspicion about previous matches is going to now be questioned. That is Smiths legacy as a captain.

    Like

  19. Mark March 25, 2018 / 9:34 pm

    Just looking at the empty stadium in NZ…..perhaps the solution to Test match crowds is if they are going to be small then start taking them to smaller venues and more picturesque ones at that. At least the tv audience can have some nice views of the sea or the mountains to look at.

    Low crowds in big empty rugby stadiums is soul destroying. People might like to sit on grass banks and have picnics with cold beer and and wine.

    Like

    • Zephirine March 25, 2018 / 10:29 pm

      Totally agree, Mark. Proper cricket grounds with trees.

      Like

    • thelegglance March 25, 2018 / 10:30 pm

      To be fair, New Zealand have done a fair bit of that – Hagley Oval, the University Oval at Dunedin and so forth.

      Like

      • Mark March 25, 2018 / 11:23 pm

        I know, it’s one of the reasons I quite like watching NZ test matches because they are often quite picturesque. This stadium is clinical and bland. Wouldn’t mind if it was packed out, but as it’s not.

        Like

    • ianrsa March 26, 2018 / 12:42 am

      hahahahahahaahaaaahahhhaahaaaa!

      Like

  20. dlpthomas March 26, 2018 / 2:36 am

    Another great catch from Williamson but poor cricket from Bairstow. Is it me or is he a slow learner?

    Like

  21. dlpthomas March 26, 2018 / 3:07 am

    David Warner comments after Faf du Plessis was charged with ball-tampering prove that he is a walking punch line.

    “”I won’t comment on the way [South Africa] have been behaving but I just know from an Australian cricket perspective: we hold our heads high and I’ll be very disappointed if one of our teammates [illegally change the condition of the ball]. The rules are in place for a reason, if you’re not gonna use them, then why bother having them?”

    Like

  22. Grenville March 26, 2018 / 4:00 am

    A few things…
    1. Why is Woakes trying to leather wides?
    2. I don’t like seeing Stokes in the middle. I don’t give a damn about role models, but cricket has to mean something. I don’t want him to play for England.
    3. I appreciate the massive hypocrisy is annoying, but spectators shouldn’t be running up to players to abuse them. Watch the game and appreciate the skill. I hope that they ban that muppet who abused warner from the ground

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston March 26, 2018 / 6:13 am

      To judge from the shot he played to get out, I can only assume that Stokes must’ve read your comment and taken it to heart.

      Like

        • LordCanisLupus March 26, 2018 / 9:49 am

          Perhaps we will see his thoughts as the opening post on his blog. It’s worth waiting for…..

          Like

          • Mark March 26, 2018 / 10:15 am

            I have a bucket ready to vomit into. Perhaps he can explain the following……

            1 Why he thinks warm up games are pointless?
            2 Why ball tampering should be made legal?
            3 Why are only certain England players criticised for poor shot selection while others get a pass?
            4 What does he make of David Saker’s link to getting the old ball to reverse swing, and does this now take the shine of the 2011 much vaunted tour?

            Like

        • oreston March 26, 2018 / 1:34 pm

          Actually, I’ve only played a handful fewer Test matches than Selvey. So I know what I’m talking about 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • metatone March 26, 2018 / 3:36 pm

            It was only a few cm…

            Like

    • Sri.grins March 26, 2018 / 8:25 am

      Stokes is a fighter but with character weaknesses. I understand that he needs to sort put his issues but it would not be good to leave someone out for his anger manager issues outside the playing field.

      If he transgressions during the match, throw the whole building at him and ban him but he is a good player to have or rather was before his anger brought him down.

      Like

    • northernlight71 March 26, 2018 / 8:46 am

      I agree completely on Stokes. I hear all the arguments about “innocent until proven guilty” etc etc but regardless of the legal position, the fact is the CPS have charged him with a serious offence and until that is sorted out one way or another, I don’t think he should be playing. From a practical point of view, I’d find it hard to concentrate properly with that hanging over my head.
      Don’t even get me started on the fact he isn’t even fit and needs painkillers to get through the day. The England medical support staff continue to make me laugh in despair.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dlpthomas March 26, 2018 / 9:44 am

        It wasn’t the medical support staff who made the decision, it was the “leadership group” (cue spooky music)

        Liked by 1 person

      • metatone March 26, 2018 / 3:36 pm

        What? Is this for real? We’re flogging Stokes unfit?

        Like

  23. metatone March 26, 2018 / 7:45 am

    So England couldn’t be as bad as the first innings and weren’t, but justice was done because without the rain, NZ would have had plenty of time.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus March 26, 2018 / 7:53 am

      Agreed. I’m going out on a limb. They’d have drawn the game in these circumstances if they’d have had proper practice matches. Want to learn lessons? There is Lesson A

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark March 26, 2018 / 9:17 am

        Not according to Selvey. Practice matches are irrelevant!

        He thinks Cook walks on water, but to come straight from lambing down on the farm to facing high class swing and seam bowling without much preparation is extracting the fans money and returning bugger all in exchange.

        As to Stokes they said he looked tired by the end of his innings. A lazy shot from a player who again has played little cricket in the last few months.

        Like

  24. Sri.grins March 26, 2018 / 8:21 am

    Good result in nz. England fought hard unlike Oz after the first wicket. But, nz won which given the loss of play over days 2,3 is the right result given the work nz put in.

    Like

    • nonoxcol March 26, 2018 / 9:15 am

      Apologies to everyone who clicked on the above link and read it.

      Apart from the insomniacs, and those with an infinite capacity for remaining placid under extreme duress.

      Like

      • Zephirine March 26, 2018 / 11:31 am

        I’m not going to read it. But it’s occurred to me that Cook has as many interview lines as he has shots:
        1. I thought about quitting but decided not to because I know everyone wants me to stay.
        2. I don’t feel happy when I’m not making runs, but I’m sure you’ll all bear with me until I do, because then I make lots and lots, don’t I?
        3. It’s disappointing when we lose, the batting was probably at fault, apart from me, obviously.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Mark March 26, 2018 / 9:24 am

    The most priceless thing about the Aussie shambles is that Smith and the patsy turned up at the press conference to admit cheating and with prior knowledge (planning to cheat) wearing their baggy greens.

    No wonder the Aussie faithful are shocked….SHOCKED that their players are not saints with wings and strumming harps.

    Like

  26. BobW March 26, 2018 / 9:25 am

    I think CA will have to tread a fine line here. If Smith and Warner end up being banned for some time. I can see them feeling shafted by their board. Will they then decide to concentrate on the money side of the game and secure their futures via the T20 circus going around the world at the expense of test match cricket?

    Like

      • Mark March 26, 2018 / 10:08 am

        That is a fantastic article thanks for linking. The media of all the major nations have a lot to answer for. They should write more of this stuff at the time, and not wait for when it all comes crashing down. They are too often cheer leaders. Lord knows the English media have played that role.

        And the media cheerleading is often rewarded by the governing bodies.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark March 26, 2018 / 9:39 am

      Ah yes, the bankers defence.

      If you prosecute us, and not bail out our bank, and let it go bust like any other business venture we will pull down the whole economy.

      Works every time!

      Like

    • thelegglance March 26, 2018 / 9:52 am

      What’s interesting to me about that is whether CA would mind. They can then paint them as disreputable mercenaries.

      Like

  27. dlpthomas March 26, 2018 / 10:33 am

    As the local media work themselves up into a feeding frenzy, I can’t help wondering if we have reached the point where, like with chucking, ball tampering has become so wide-spread that the ICC have to grow a pair and sort it out properly.

    Whilst commentating today, Mike “dirt in pocket” Atherton talked about chewing gum and rubbing the sugary-saliva on the ball to help keep the shine (Here’s the ball. Don’t worry about the herpes – I’m not shedding today). He then joked about the time a new 12th man brought out sugar-free gum – “He never got the job again”. The kiwi commentators then claimed that the worst offenders for the last 20 years have been wicketkeepers, some of whom even glue sandpaper in their gloves to use on the ball before throwing it to the slip fielders. It was even suggested that the umpires should inspect the gloves of all keepers at the start of every session. Other suspicious behavior reported in the media includes Bancroft (again) with sugar in his pockets and the bizarre amount of tape (+/- sandpaper) on Warner’s hand. Perhaps I’m naïve but I am both amazed and saddened by these stories.

    Interestingly, Fanie de Villiers is claiming the Australians got caught because he instructed camera operators to look for ball tampering as the Australians were getting reverse swing so early in the innings (https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/broadcaster-claims-he-tipped-off-cameramen-20180326-p4z6cd.html) If the game had been played in Australia, I’m not sure the Channel 9 camera men would have been so helpful. Perhaps we need neutral camera men.

    Like

    • thelegglance March 26, 2018 / 10:37 am

      Well, sugary sweets are permitted as long as it’s the saliva not the item itself on the ball.

      Must admit I’d never even thought about rough gloves, but surely you could never keep it to just one side of the ball, which is the requirement?

      Like

      • Tregaskis March 26, 2018 / 8:40 pm

        Sorry Chris this is wrong.

        In the Faf du Plessis case the ICC and Beloff, on appeal, decided that sweet-induced saliva was an artificial substance and fell foul of the Code of Conduct. The absurdity of the ruling was that it failed to add any clarity to the matter. So for example, chewing gum was OK but a sugary mint not so much.

        MCC did not help when it observed du Plessis put his finger in his mouth and touched the mint and said finger went on to touch the ball.

        What has never been said is the Code is only breached if it is the sweet itself that touches the ball.

        Like

        • thelegglance March 26, 2018 / 8:48 pm

          We appear to be forever debating! But that’s not quite what happened with Du Plessis. He wasn’t done for the saliva, but for placing his finger on the mint, then on the ball – John Stephenson specifically referenced that and was on the panel. An article here: http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/18226060/mcc-sticks-present-ball-tampering-law which I would love to say clears it up, but sadly does not.

          But in essence, by omission, they have specifically highlighted his being found guilty as NOT being because of saliva.

          Like

          • Tregaskis March 26, 2018 / 9:20 pm

            Ha! How many angels are dancing on the head of a pin?

            The thing is the ICC hearing and Beloff, on appeal of the hearing, made it very clear that sugar-induced saliva was the issue. That is my clear reading of the transcripts.

            Stephenson’s comments were made later on behalf of MCC, quite separately. That may have been his opinion, but they were strictly obiter. His specific, rather awkward view, is not how the du Plessis case was decided.

            I think our common ground is that neither MCC nor the ICC have created a definitive position nor sent out a loud message that they intend to police it vigorously. The sub-text has been – don’t get caught.

            The Smith-Bancroft event may change all that. I feel the ICC had other options that they chose not to take. I recognise you see this differently.

            I doubt we can argue this further without without it coming across as banging on. You have made your thoughts known very eloquently and I guess we can do little more than see how things unfold. It is a shame when so many folk are talking about the survival of Test cricket that the game finds itself on the front pages for all the wrong reasons.

            Like

          • thelegglance March 27, 2018 / 1:21 pm

            Well, I can’t agree that it’s clear cut in the transcripts, because you have arguments being made rather than judgements on the specifics. I do think that the fact the MCC remain the arbiters of the laws is important here given Stephenson’s comments, and his implication that it wasn’t a saliva based matter. My God, we’re actually discussing saliva – what a time to be alive!

            But look (as our Antipodean friends would say) I have no problem with you reading it differently, and I think we both agree that it’s somewhat messy and uncertain as to what is ok and what isn’t. They seem to be making some of it up as they go along.

            Like

    • Mark March 26, 2018 / 10:56 am

      Neutral cameraman! It makes you think. Perhaps we need umpires call on the cameraman. Hawkeye can judge if the cameraman is zooming in on the right players.

      I had to laugh over the weekend when Dave Richardson was quoted as saying “cricket needs to take a hard look at itself.”

      Well you are at the ICC Dave!

      Like

    • BoredInAustria March 26, 2018 / 12:35 pm

      Interesting: March 2014 Newlands:
      Australia had the ball reversing shortly after the first hour and du Plessis admitted to being pretty surprised. “I was really surprised to see the ball reverse from their side. It was 20 overs old and with the damp conditions… let’s just leave it at that,” he said. After David Warner suggested South Africa may have used dubious methods to achieve the same in Port Elizabeth, du Plessis made sure to tread carefully but left it out there anyway.

      Johnson was more pragmatic about Australia’s art and explained how he thought they achieved it. “It was our plan coming here to get the ball to reverse and bowling second helped,” he said. “The wicket was abrasive enough to bowl cross seam and I usually hit the same so I could hit it nice and rough and we can get that shine off the ball. We’re not surprised that it went.”
      http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-australia-2013-14/content/story/725079.html

      Like

  28. thelegglance March 26, 2018 / 10:33 am

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-5542655/England-players-left-wondering-Aussies-cheated-Ashes-too.html

    A little context: England (definitely no angels, and plenty of suspicion about them in the past) were apparently talking about this privately during the Ashes themselves, but couldn’t prove anything and so stayed silent. It’s not so much a matter of briefing the media now, more the journalists reporting on what was said then.

    It does rather highlight Broad’s comment about being surprised Australia have changed their method though.

    Like

    • Mark March 26, 2018 / 10:50 am

      This in many ways will be the Smith legacy. It’s not just this one off test match in SA, but his teams whole recent past will now be made suspicious.

      As you say, England are not in any position to play the shrinking violets, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do so, and that certain English journos will be happy to play that role as they see themselves as cheerleaders of the team. They shouldn’t take this as a get out of jail card because England’s bowling attack was toothless in the Ashes. Have they forgotten how to reverse swing the ball?

      Time for the media of all nations to stop propping up bad behaviour, and become journalists. That’s is what is written on their passports. Not….. “fan.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance March 26, 2018 / 10:57 am

        I will say most of the media coverage has highlighted Australian double standards rather than specifically the ball tampering. To me that’s by far the most delicious element of the whole thing, along with the incredibly dim way they planned it.

        I’ve no doubt England have done it, but they’re obviously brighter than Australia and don’t have someone as stupid as Warner telling the opposition how they’ve done it. Because that part does ring true, and I’d heard from another journalist that it was Warner separately.

        Like

        • Mark March 26, 2018 / 11:03 am

          Yes, Smith does not come off as the sharpest knife in the draw. The fact he rocked up to the press conference to admit cheating wearing the baggy green is not a good look.

          You wouldn’t want either Smith or Warner as your “phone a friend.”

          Like

          • thelegglance March 26, 2018 / 11:46 am

            Worst of all, it undermines the well known truth that it’s bowlers who are stupid, not batsmen! 😉

            Like

          • BobW March 26, 2018 / 12:06 pm

            Stupid cricketers. Now that is a subject all of it’s own. Seen some hugely gifted cricketers over the years who could have got very far in the game but just lacked those extra brain cells needed.

            Like

          • thelegglance March 26, 2018 / 12:09 pm

            Herschelle Gibbs forgetting he’d taken a bung to get out and accidentally scoring a century is still my favourite.

            Another batsman. Sigh…

            Liked by 2 people

  29. d'Arthez March 26, 2018 / 11:30 am

    You have to wonder though about the camera work (as I did in a prior post, with regards to giving advantage to the home side on DRS). If it takes the home broadcaster 30 minutes (as alleged by Fanie de Villiers, who works for SuperSport, the home broadcaster) to find evidence of wrongdoing by tourists, how easy is it then for a home team to hide evidence of ball tampering? What is next, neutral broadcasters? And after that, neutral crowds? Ignorant crowds, who will be bussed in and not say anything of worth (positive or negative) about any of the players, simply because they don’t know the 24 people on the field at all?

    We don’t even have a neutral DRS, so good luck getting to that point. Never mind that “neutral” broadcasters almost invariably means that there will be either a reduction of money at the top, or those immediately under the top will get screwed over AGAIN by the ICC.

    Like

    • Nicholas March 26, 2018 / 9:17 pm

      Re. this winter’s Ashes series, BT’s production company (Sunset and Vine) had their own 4-camera production out there to put their own ‘spin’ on the Channel 9 feed. So there was plenty of opportunity for BT’s (English) camera men to seek out Aussie misbehaviour.

      This is very unusual these days for that to be the case, I must say (back in the day, Sky did this a lot on overseas tours, as the overseas coverage never used to be quite as adept as Sky’s) so I’m not saying that this is a solution, but it is a riposte to all the ‘C9 cameramen, eh?!?!’ mentions that we’re getting on Twitter.

      Like

  30. volkerelle March 26, 2018 / 11:36 am

    Will David Saker be integral to this? Will reverse swing be his legacy? What will his journalist friend have to say?

    Like

  31. dlpthomas March 26, 2018 / 11:38 am

    An update from James Sutherland

    To our Australian Cricket Fans,

    I would like to provide you with an update on the situation with the Australian Men’s Cricket Team and the investigation currently underway into what transpired at Cape Town.

    Our Head of Integrity will arrive in South Africa shortly to continue his inquiries around the specifics of the ball tampering incident.

    I am travelling to South Africa this evening, arriving on Tuesday morning local time, at which point I will meet with our Head of Integrity to understand the findings of the investigation to that point, and to consider the outcomes.

    We are aiming to be in a position to fully update the Australian public on the investigation and outcomes on Wednesday morning AEDT.

    We understand the strong interest everyone has in this situation and we are following due process to properly address all of the relevant issues involved.

    We recognise how important the fans are to our game, and this process is the beginning of restoring your faith in Australian Cricket.

    James Sutherland
    Chief Executive Officer – Cricket Australia

    Like

      • BobW March 26, 2018 / 12:04 pm

        Head of integrity? This is sounding like an episode of WC1A.

        Like

        • oreston March 26, 2018 / 2:31 pm

          You have to wonder how the “Head of Integrity” at CA otherwise fills his days.

          Like

    • LordCanisLupus March 26, 2018 / 12:07 pm

      The contrast, although couched in management-speak and ofuscation, between we know how important it is to the fans that we update you and the legendary, five days after the event, “Outside Cricket” memo is absolutely stark.

      Liked by 3 people

  32. LordCanisLupus March 26, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    Oh my lordy! Paul Newman going in studs up, like a scorned man. How the hell could they, the bastards?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-5542575/Australia-hated-team-world-cricket-disbanded.html

    Some magic lines in there!

    Ban them for a year at least, sack ’em from leadership, Dastardy and Muttley…. It is so gloriously overwrought it’s a work of art – if you can get past the annoying text boxes and supersized pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark March 26, 2018 / 12:38 pm

      Nothing will bring back sympathy, and rehabilitate the Australian cricket team faster than pompous English journos piling on.

      39 has given his explanation on how the Aussies got the ball to reverse, with pictures and all. It’s all a ruse to cover for the England teams piss poor performances. Don’t be fooled by the meme.

      They have been slow to condem England’s bad behaviour in the past, and usually excuse it if the right person is doing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. BoredInAustria March 26, 2018 / 12:59 pm

    Nice quote from Nasser: “David Warner seems to have a lot to say on a cricket field; in the last 48 hours the silence from David Warner has been deafening.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas March 26, 2018 / 11:51 pm

      Warner had quite a bit to say during the players strike. I wonder if they will come back to haunt him.

      Like

  34. AB March 26, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    I’m not surprised, I’m not shocked, I’m not really all that bothered. Ball-tampering, everyone’s at it, let the umpires police it and hand out 1 or 2 game bans. Lehmann should ultimately carry the can here – he’s the one that sets the tone.

    What I’m amazed about is the reaction from some Australians who are apparently so blind to the poisonous culture that has been festering within their cricket team since Border’s days, that they didn’t see this coming. Cheat? Us? Never!

    Liked by 2 people

    • oreston March 26, 2018 / 2:53 pm

      Yes, it’s rich isn’t it? I think Zephirine got as close as anybody here to understanding what’s going on by talking about the concept of Australian exceptionalism. They convince themselves that all the victories they’ve won have been because of the indomitable Aussie spirit and the esprit d’corps of the Baggy Green – and because they’re just BETTER at cricket than other countries. Then they get their noses rubbed in the reality of it: the success has been partly achieved on the back of a culture of endemic bullying and cheating (enabled until a couple of days ago by a compliant press and broadcast media). Suddenly the facade is brought crashing down and the reality isn’t nearly as edifying. I wonder if (subconsciously at least) part of the fury at Steve Smith from ex-players and the like is motivated more by the fact that he let the cat out of the bag than by what he and his team mates actually did. I don’t know, maybe that’s an unworthy thought but I’ll put it out there anyway.

      Like

      • Sri.Grins March 26, 2018 / 3:30 pm

        Agree with you. For example , Dizzy’s comments on Smith. The team Dizzy played under not only indulged in mental disintegration, put umpires under pressure, had two persons who gave irrelevant info to the bookies, had a person who took a banned substance, had a person who threw a fit because an opposition batsman did not accept his word that he had caught the ball when every oz batsman took advantage of close catches being referred to 3rd umpires for adjudication, had a person who claimed a clear one bump catch, had a person who felt he could insult the opposition players anyway they want but they can’t aim any insults at his wife.

        Weird, yet not once has dizzy spoken out against all these incidents. Yet, Smith’s action becomes cheating while claiming one bump catches is not.

        I think a lot of ex-players , not just of Oz but of the rest of the world too have a queer moral compass and live in a bubble where everything any team did they were a part of was right but not what the opponents did or someone else from their own country did.

        Interesting perspective. 🙂

        Like

        • Zephirine March 26, 2018 / 4:18 pm

          ‘s all about heroes, innit?

          We all do it. Even in an era that’s awash with spiteful gossip from one corner of the globe to another, we still want to believe that OUR athletes are fine and noble and worthy of our admiration – and much more worthy than your athletes.

          So the athletes have to sort of believe it too, even though they know they’re all just ordinary blokes and some of them are quite unpleasant.

          It’s a weird life, really, constantly pushing your body to its limits, being under huge psychological pressure to win, not really doing much with a large part of your mind, and having to be a hero for Joe Bloggs and a ‘role model’ for his kids as well. And travelling. Pestered for selfies. It’s a wonder more of them don’t go mad.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sri.grins March 26, 2018 / 4:38 pm

            @zeph

            Great post and well written.

            Every point you made is appropriate.

            Like

        • BoredInAustria March 26, 2018 / 7:16 pm

          Great post Sri

          Michael Clark said: “What might have been lost here is what the Baggy Green means, what it means to represent your country and the people of Australia and what comes with that, You get caught up in your own world and your own life when you’re playing sport at the highest level because it’s 24/7. I’m not making excuses but there’s so much more with representing your country in any country but particularly in Australia. This is part of our code of honour, our crest, it’s a big part of this country.”

          In 2014, on the very same Newlands, he managed to abuse Steyn for the following to say: “I haven’t really spoken to him much since then to be honest, I don’t take many things personally, but what he did say to me I did take personally.”

          In 2014 AB said: “That was definitely the most abuse we’ve got on the cricket field,” de Villiers told Fox Sports. When we play England, it’s pretty verbal. I also remember touring Australia in 2006 as a youngster, with the likes of Warne and McGrath and Gilly behind the stumps. Still, that was nowhere near what we received in 2014. Australia certainly made a conscious effort to be verbally over the top.Maybe they felt they could get under us if they really came out and got personal with some of us. I felt it was unnecessary. Some of the Australian players came up and apologised and felt that it was a little bit over the top … certainly at times they did go over the top and I think they regret that in some way.”

          And Faf’s description then of the Australians in the field as being “like a pack of wild dogs” in the field, which was invariably followed by at least one visiting player ‘barking’ upon the batsman’s dismissal.”

          Our code of honour. Our crest.

          Like

          • oreston March 26, 2018 / 8:25 pm

            Great stuff, Boredinaustria.

            The pretence that the “gamesmanship” exhibited by Smith’s team is something new and complete anathema to members of previous Aussie national squads from the ’90s onwards suggests to me that there’s a huge reputation management operation in progress. It’s just a a few rotton apples. They’ll be dealt with, as harshly as is necessary to restore public confidence, after which there’ll be nothing to see so kindly move along. At least Cricket Australia aren’t making the “outside cricket” error but that doesn’t mean they’re blameless. How has their “Head of Integrity” been filling his days all this time?

            Like

        • dlpthomas March 26, 2018 / 11:57 pm

          To be fair a few local journo’s have been saying for a while that the team was going to get it self into big trouble. However, I don’t think they thought it would be anything quite like this. (I suspect they felt that excessive sledging would lead to an on-field fight)

          Your comment about the players having a queer moral compass Is spot on.

          Like

    • BoredInAustria March 26, 2018 / 3:05 pm

      Tommo on Australian exceptionalism:
      Thomson also criticised the culture in the team, saying the Australia players were “spoilt brats”. “If it doesn’t go their way, they spit the dummy, whinge about it, carry on stupidly,”

      Like

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