If England showed exquisite timing in being bowled out for 58 the week the Australian ball tampering episode blew up, the ECB must be exceedingly grateful for their own internal issues to pop up now as well. For while the eyes of the world were focused on Johannesburg and Sydney, there was a second resignation from the ECB Board. If there was one thing over which The Odious Giles Clarke was entirely correct about in Death of a Gentleman, it was that no one cares about administration – at least not until it reaches FIFA levels of nefariousness. Thus, there will likely be little attention placed on the carelessness of losing not just one director, but two, in a matter of weeks.
This latest resignation has been painted by the ECB as being of no major consequence, given the reorganisation of the board in May, but it is striking that Richard Thompson of Surrey, someone thought a potential chairman in the future, felt the need to make such a strident point by talking about a lack of leadership and more damningly a lack of transparency in ECB policy.
“I’m saddened to have to stand down while still being a board member. I have been uncomfortable with recent decisions taken without full consultation and as such did not feel able to remain on the board,”
The catalyst appears to have been the payment of £2.5million to Glamorgan as compensation for no longer hosting Test cricket, and how that decision was taken, plus the issue of the ECB’s constitution supposedly being required to ensure all counties are treated equally, but it should also be noted that his county were one of those most vocal in initially opposing the forthcoming T20 franchise tournament. That particular funding decision was a major reason behind the resignation of Somerset’s Andy Nash, given the awarding of the franchise for the region to Glamorgan on top of the payment for not bidding to host Tests.
The reconstitution of the board in May will remove the counties from direct oversight, something that isn’t in itself a bad thing given the way they have wagged the England dog so successfully for 150 years, but goes far beyond the requirements Sport England placed on them in return for maintaining that affluent relationship.
“I met with the board’s senior independent director and thereafter wrote to him giving detailing reasoning for my resignation. Further, I gave him my permission to share my letter with the full board.
“With two non-executive directors having now taken the ultimate sanction available to them to register their dissatisfaction, I agree with those who say the most appropriate course of action is for an independent external investigation to be set up to consider the matters raised.
“It is in the best interests of the game and the national governing body that the substantial matters raised by the non-executive directors and several counties are considered properly, openly and transparently.
“This is the best way for the game to be able to draw a line under the issues raised, to learn the lessons, unify and move on.”
Where this leaves Colin Graves is an open question; the counties are not exactly in open revolt, but resignations hardly suggests a great deal of confidence in him either. On the plus side for them all, the board have awarded themselves a salary in future, with the chairman receiving up to £150,000 a year – Graves himself has nobly declined to take it – and for those angling for his job in the future, the appeal in voting it through is rather obvious. There is no news as yet as to whether election to the board is open to all involved in cricket, but it’s probably just an oversight at this stage.
While the rumblings within the ECB may not be as remotely sexy as those on the other side of the world, it does reinforce the perception of an organisation in a fair degree of chaos, and one that has managed the fairly exceptional achievement of managing to annoy virtually everyone except themselves.
*Update: Barely 2 days after rejecting a review, the ECB have now agreed to one. Arse, meet elbow*
As far as events down under go, so much has been written about it that repeating the same story time and again is beginning to get boring, and not remotely as funny as the whole topic has been up to now. The 12 month bans for Warner and Smith and 9 for Bancroft are objectively extremely harsh for the crime committed, but entirely expected given the response from the public, and perhaps more notably, the damage to the value of the broadcasting and sponsorship contracts held by Cricket Australia. It is that damage that is by far the bigger issue in terms of the outrage.
It may not yet be the end of it. Warner is believed to be incandescent with the verdict, and intending to appeal, and given the punishment, and the likely permanent exclusion from the Australian team, he has little to lose either by that appeal, or indeed by publicly challenging the conclusions in the future. Inasmuch as this has echoes of the ECB and Pietersen, it is that once a player is hung out to dry, their inclination to remain silent disappears. Given the exculpation of Darren Lehmann, this could get very interesting, for the narrative of Warner in particular being responsible and Lehmann knowing nothing about it is something that has invited considerable scepticism. Equally, the claim that this is the only time it’s happened is rather at odds with the apparently detailed descriptions of how Warner demonstrated the tampering to Bancroft.
Given the storm of outrage when the story first broke, Cricket Australia’s perfect outcome would have been that only the three players at the centre of it were responsible in any way, and everyone else was completely innocent and oblivious. Imagine everyone’s surprise when the verdict showed that to be the case. Australia’s bowlers must be remarkably uninterested in the condition of the ball to allow the batsmen to look after it and take no interest in what they’re doing, and the coaching staff amazingly relaxed about what the team are up to at all times.
As a final observation, and indicative of the Catch 22 scenario now in position is the highly amusing punishment dished out as the voluntary community service that’s so voluntary that the three players are compelled to do it.
Once in a while sporting governing bodies surprise. This is not one of those times, either with Cricket Australia or the ECB. Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.
“The 12 month bans for Warner and Smith and 9 for Bancroft are objectively extremely harsh for the crime committed”
I disagree. I think they are fairly mild myself. I would be pleased never to see Warner again on a cricket pitch, ever. I understand that he and Smith have also lost their IPL contracts. I can feel precious little sympathy for them.
I have just returned from Oz and I honestly think that Smith, Warner et al have simply no idea, though they may have now, how much anger outrage and disgust their actions have caused. The Australian psyche is so invested in the Baggy Greens and my daughter in Sydney has told me of some of the reaction of her Aussie friends and they are as one. Even the tabloids have put the boot in. I was expecting the British press to have a gleeful time and they have, but it is as nothing as the papers in Australia. The problem with cricketers today at this level is that they live in a wealthy, cossetted bubble and have no idea how they are viewed. Our team, well certain members anyway, have to same attitude. So now they know how those ‘outside cricket’ feel
From Daniel Brettig on cricinfo
“What the f*** is going on?”
These were the words that distanced Australia’s coach Darren Lehmann from the ball-tampering plot hatched by David Warner and Cameron Bancroft with the approval of Steven Smith. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has said this was the message Lehmann relayed to Bancroft via 12th man Peter Handscomb, whom he spoke to on a walkie talkie.
Lehmann offered this version of events to the CA head of integrity Iain Roy when interviewed at the team hotel in Cape Town on Monday, and it was accepted with the help of corroborating witnesses. Sutherland said this explained Lehmann’s absence from the charge sheet released by CA on Wednesday, which handed bans to Warner, Bancroft and Smith.
“It is understood and it has been verified by others that on the walkie-talkie he said… you guys probably saw it, the first time anyone knew about it was when it came up on the vision screen,” Sutherland said in Johannesburg. “He saw that and he radioed down and he said ‘what the f*** is going on?’ He said to Handscomb: ‘Find out what the f*** is going on’.
And the bowling coach?
Call me cynical, but not entirely convinced innocence is the only explanation for that question…
What the **** is going on? Could equally apply because the umpires were asking questions. It is beyond question, to my mind at least, that both Lehmann and Saker (and, no doubt, a number of the other players) were aware of what was happening. Proving it now is harder (that’s the problem with such swift investigations and conclusions) but it will out, it always does, the only question is when. Warner might erupt, it could come out in any appeal or it might be years from now. Whichever way, AC have undoubtedly created a future problem unless it’s years from now. But, heck, they’ve gambled the house on trying to restrict this to three players with Warner being the main victim.
Judging by the reaction of various players from other nations the removal of Warner is seen as akin to the school bully finally being expelled. Tom Brown schooldays are probably a bit old fashioned or indeed a bit elitist for Warner. I doubt he has ever worn a top hat or ever forced any players to warm the toilet seats or toast the bread for tea. Indeed Warner might be forgiven for thinking Tom Brown schooldays is a Hip Hop band.
Perhaps a better analogy is him as the teams Pit bull. The Aussies were quite happy to let him off the leash as he roamed about protecting his ground in the outfield. But it appears he may have met his match in SA. They have bigger beasts down there. The pit bull appears to have met the crocodile or the Lion. If rumours are to believed other members of the team are sick and tired of his antics. Hmmmm I wonder why?
Could it be that the reaction of the SA crowds and taking the sledging to a level of no holds barred is taste of things to come for the Aussies, and their much vaunted culture? It appears that the Aussie team is facing the not altogether comfortable prospect of this kind of circus where ever they now go. Hostile crowds, and home players who are prepared to go as low as you like in the sledging World Cup . Suddenly the pit bull has become a nuisance. Adios Dave.
Oh my God. Warner is Flashman. That’s perfect.
Flashman’s accidental start of the Charge of the Light Brigade is a must read.
Flasman or flash git?
The sponsors are pulling out now. Always the last to leave the party. After they have extracted the last piece of silver. Always funny when they claim it no longer fits with their corporate family values.
Comes back to the old chestnut about sorry I did it or sorry I got caught? Corporate sponsors are like the wind. They have absolutely no loyalty or integrity. When the wind changes they follow.
I just can’t see how Lehmann can continue. It beggars belief.
With all of this happening, how come Stokes is allowed to play on??
Some hypocrisy there.
ECB is weak in that regard.
A local journo has just had the courage to the ask the question that no one else would dare to – “Just what role did Shane Warne’s mother play in all this”
Actually, quite a few ex-players seem to have been sympathetic to the players who have been punished. Warner is probably mostly disliked by the English experts but he has even drawn support from others around the world. Cricinfo has an article covering comments by players on this.
Just as a wordplay,
The aussie team is so morally bancroft and besmithed their country that they deserve not just a warnering but a garland of Chappells
Perhaps, some sense, some perspective is required on the entire issue to understand the motivation. We still haven’t heard Warner speak so still lack a proper and complete picture.
I am still wondering what drove them to do what they did. Was it the personal abuse, a feeling of hurt from seeing QDK or Rabada walk away from sanctions or realising that the one chance to get back at the opposition on the field was slipping away? Or may be it was all of these.. or may be they’ve done it before and just got away in past… am still curious….
It is such a starcly dishonest step involving lyoning that they should have seen a big punishment Cummins and avoided the Paine.
The rehabilitation of Steve Smith has begun. An article by Tyson Otto includes the following passages with quotes from Jim Maxwell.
The voice of ABC Grandstand claims Smith was simply “stupid enough” to give Warner the benefit of the doubt. “He (Warner) was the instigator,” Maxwell told ABC Radio. “He was sitting in the dressing room with Bancroft and they came up with this ruse. As I understand it, Steve looked over to them and said, ‘What are you blokes up to? Oh, I don’t want to know’. He went out onto the field and he probably should have been more vigilant, as I said.”
Maxwell claimed the entire situation is the consequence of the former 28-year-old skipper’s failure to control his 31-year-old deputy. He said the pair’s relationship developed a dangerous stalemate where the so-called attack dog of Aussie cricket considered himself exempt from Smith’s supervision — as the more senior member of the two. “There’s been a bit of a history here with Warner and Smith with Warner coveting the captaincy and getting some boy scout honours recently in the T20 (series) in New Zealand and now it’s sort of blown up over a period of some incidents here because Warner, as far as I can see, has lost the plot and that’s why we got what we got”, Maxwell said.
So Warner is the super-villain and Smith crime is really just poor man management skills.
Meanwhile, David Warner has made only a brief statement, promising more after he arrives back in Australia and consults with “family, friends and trusted advisors.” Whether this statement turns out to be an explosion or a damp squib may depend upon whether or not Warner wants to ever play for Australia again. If he feels he is being made the scapegoat, he could have quite a lot to say.
Geoff Lemon recently wrote “At times, I like David Warner. He’s complex, and much smarter than people credit. I’ve written of this side of him before. But he can also be highly aggressive, and teammates say he’s prone to massive behavioural swings.” Given how erratic he has been on this tour, on and (almost) off the field, I’m half expecting some announcement about a “stress-related” condition. I’m sure Jonathan Trott would see the irony in that.
I should add that I feel sorry for all 3 players. They need an appropriate punishment but they also need to be rehabilitated back into the game and forgiven.
Heartily agree here.
I have a different interpretation of what happened to the official story which seems to be conviently putting all the blame on Warner. ( by the way I think Warner has had it coming to him for his loutish behaviour over many years which CA did nothing to address. Hence outside Australia many people are smiling when we hear CA talk about changing the culture.We will see)
Anyway, here is my take on what happened. First off I believe this was not the first time they had been working on the ball to achieve reverse swing. Warner it was claimed was the guy who “looked after the ball” in the field. Why else did he have all that tape on his fingers? As far as I’m aware he has no problem with his hand. So why was it all taped up? We also know that the cameras had picked up on all that tape, and zoomed in. In response Warner wrote the names of his family on the tape so the cameras could see it. Was this a distraction to throw them off the scent? My take is they realised he was under huge scrutiny so they needed another person to do the deed of roughing up the ball. Perhaps they thought the cameras would not pick it up with Bancoroft as they would still be focused on Warner.
The match was slipping away from them (one of the ironies of all this was they were getting well beaten in this match even with the ball tampering.) They see themselves as winners. And are going to try almost anything. They also felt under siege with all the off field antics. (Again brought on by Warner it has to said) so they got Bancroft to do the work on the ball.
Smith was captain and he has to carry the can. He is liked more in Aus than Warner, but that shouldn’t matter. Smith blamed the leadership group, which if true is throwing some of the senior players also under the bus if it was all Warner’s idea. (rumour is, some of the players were unhappy at being dragged in.) Smiths general air at the press conference was of a man who thought it was no big deal. He apologised, and said “I can promise it won’t happen again under my leadership.” Which is all very well, but hints at a man who had no idea what was about to hit him. It was a very millennial attitude. We move on with a slap on the wrists nothing to see here.
I don’t believe for a minute this was the first time they did it. How come they magically had sand paper all ready to go in the dressing room? They didn’t have time to send Bancrot out to the DIY store in the interval. It also beggars belief that the coaches were not in involved. But let’s say they didn’t know. Smith is quoted as saying when he saw Warner and Bancroft together “I don’t want to know what you are up to.” That does not sound like the voice of a captain who is opposed to some dirty dealings or one who wanted to take responsibility for what was going on.
We will have to wait to see what Warner has to say, and that may come down to whether he thinks he will play for Australia ever again. If he feels he is being scapegoated, and has no way back, he may just let the have it with both barrels.
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You make some good points.
I wonder, if like many (if not all) teams, Australia tampers with the ball and the whole team knows about it. They may use finger nails (check out Warner’s nails in some of the photo’s), mints, sunburn cream and god knows what else. The decision to use sand-paper may have been Warner’s and, other than Bancroft, no one else knew. Thus when the bowlers say they didn’t know, they are telling the truth just not the whole truth.
I have no idea what an appropriate punishment would be but it’s going to cost Warner and Smith millions not to mention a life time of abuse.
One thing I would say is all teams tamper with the ball. The ICC have been feeble about this. But that is because the ICC is made up of the teams involved. The so called big three, India, England, and Australia have all been accused of ball tampering at some time.
Perhaps the individual governing bodies don’t want it to be banned? Maybe that is why it’s only a level 2 offence carrying a one match ban? I find Dave Richardson’s comments that cricket needs to take a long hard look at itself as priceless.
Perhaps the honest thing to do would be to have the manufactures make a ball with one side already roughed up and after 45 overs the umpires give it to the fielding team. No tampering needed then. The governing bodies have done it already.
I would allow some ball tampering (but not with sand-paper / bottle tops). The trouble is players would still break the rules and it is hard to police.
Maybe you could give them a ball and say do what you want with it but your not getting another one for 80 overs regardless of what happens.
Rumour is that Mo and Wo have been dropped for tonight’s 2nd Test. Both were rushed back from injury to play in the Ashes, and Wo was brought back from injury to play in NZ. At some point, we ought to perhaps stop flogging these fellows and giving them some proper prep time. They may or may not be good enough – I suspect both at their best probably are just about good enough to be in and around the team – but half fit and underbaked – the task would be beyond all but the best. I think a nod to Jimmy would be worth doing here, you have to say that as an athlete and someone who can generally rouse himself to be near on peak physical condition for most of the year – he does excel. I wonder how much the T20 and ODI omissions have helped him with that, compared to say, Mo and Wo playing all 3 formats.
I like Woakes, and in another world feel like he might have really excelled in Tests. However he is now 29 – so not exactly a prospect. Perhaps he ought to be dropped/rested/omitted from Tests until the World Cup – at least that would bring some clarity to our ambitions.
My mum has gone to Christchurch for the match. She eyed up Eden Park as the more iconic venue, but to be honest I told her it looks shit and unsuited to hosting anything unless there’s 30k people there. The echo-ey emptiness that came across on TV suggests I made the right call.
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Big agreement from me here. I’ve never been sure Mo actually is a Test class player, but it was painfully obvious that playing him unfit was just going to undermine him – and it has. And I have no confidence that Eng camp properly assessed Woakes before putting him in the team with a crocked Stokes.
I agree 100% on Woakes. He should focus on ODIs for the time being. His Test bowling, outside of England, has been woeful. whether that’s due to injury or ability (seems a combination of both) it’s time to look at someone else.
Ali /is/ Test class, with the bat. He’s got Test tons. He’s looked the part. But he is horribly out of form. He needs to
a) Score some runs at 5 or higher for Worcs
b) Deserve a place in the England top 6 on batting alone.
His bowling is a bonus. It is not consistently good enough to be Test class. (You could argue that about his batting, but I’d suggest he’s shown more with the bat, over more series (though not recently!) to suggest he could hold down a top 6 spot.)
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ACA response to proposed player sanctions
29 Mar 2018
Steve Smith, Dave Warner and Cameron Bancroft made very serious mistakes in South Africa.
It is right that these mistakes are sanctioned, and that must occur in a fair and proper way.
The national game we all love must always demonstrate standards and behaviours consistent with both the rules, and the spirit, of cricket. And the game must be supported by rigorous and fair processes. There are a number of glaring and clear anomalies in the process to date which causes the ACA to query the severity and proportionality of the proposed sanctions.
The grading and sanctions proposed are considerably higher than the ICC’s grading and sanctions;
The disproportionally between the proposed sanctions and those previously handed down in world cricket for ‘changing the condition of the ball’ – including by Captains of international teams applying artificial substances;
The activation of CA’s Board as a deliberative body on the proposed sanctions;
That public statements by CA to date have not referenced consideration of contextual factors including the environment in South Africa during the series and the impacts on individual players;
The rush to place players before the world’s media last Saturday night without the benefit of considered and coherent advice.
The ACA continues to provide welfare and legal support to all players.
This welfare support will be critical at a time where the network and environment of each of the three players must play an active role in their rehabilitation.
All Australians would understand the right of the players to receive advice from their advisers, peers and family and the time necessary to ensure the sanctions are fair and proportional.
The ACA has called for the proposed cultural review to be fully independent and to consider all relevant factors and context surrounding these acts. The examination must also extend to CA’s response and process following Saturday’s events.
Warner, like Stokes, seems to have some personality problems which have been cheerfully exploited by his team in the past.
“Attack dogs” are all very useful when perhaps some of your other players are reticent/complacent/lazy/untalented. But they’re basically over-aggressive men who are being indulged. Then when they behave like the “street fighters” they are, there’s a lot of sanctimonious outrage.
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Unsurprisingly, very little sympathy out of South Africa:
An editorial letting rip:
The notion that cheating at cricket is somehow at odds with what Australia stands for is, frankly, laughable. As someone said on Twitter: “Glorious nation of people who lock refugees up indefinitely and also cheat at cricket.”
A good historic analysis, but pointed:
It can’t be stressed enough that Cricket Australia has contributed to this utterly boorish behaviour. What does it say of an organisation that it allowed a pathetic backdrop (four fingers raised to signify four Aussie wins, and a clenched fist to represent England’s zero) at the end of the recent Ashes series that openly mocked their opponents? Good luck telling your players to win with dignity after a vulgar stunt like that
(This is by Dileep Premachandran so a bit of an Indian view)
Interesting editorial. So nothing in South Africa’s history to be ashamed of then?
One listen to Kepler Wessels commentary, and all the testimonies from cricketers, good and bad, about him as a coach, and you’ll know that they are up with Australia on matters like these.
And we are too. England’s media are in no place to judge, when they were played the same way on a number of occasions. Let’s see how they step up in the light of the recent ECB/George Dobell business.
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This a million times.
I remember when Anderson was in trouble for sledging the Indian player and the media was practically running defence for him. Most of the big three media see themselves as part of the team. It was always a bit better in England until Cook took over, and then the media lost its mind.
The media want access so have to bow and scape to the governing bodies.
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I remember Atherton getting away with blatant cheating. Presumably because he’s “one of us” and would never have stooped to anything so base.
Imagine what the English press would have said if Javed Miandad had been caught with dirt in his pocket…
Putting this out there, for people to make their own minds up…
Anderson didn’t just sledge but made contact
😉. Of course, the camera went on the blink at the right time. 😁.
But, Indian media are not line Oz media or English media.
They are highly critical mostly of anything the bcci did till the Supreme Court superseded the existing structure. So, you would hardly find one article in hundred praising the bcci. about players, they have their own favorites. Kohli gets both positive and negative press. Rahane hardly ever gets negative press. Ashwin mostly gets negative press.
So, way different from the Oz /English treatment of ca/ecb
I’m sorry but I view throwing in as entirely legitimate. You’re taking a risk and there’s nothing to say you have to throw the ball on the full.
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That is one of the Indian views. The good and the bad about the subcontinent is that given the size of the population, there are usually a hundred views each of which find currency among a large number.
Oz is a team which in general Indian fans prefer to watch or support as compared to England or sa. Yes, aussies are seen as having sledging, behavioral issues but it mostly does not bother the sub continent players especially Indians whether it was the tab 4 Era or now.
If it comes to India Vs Oz, every misdemeanor from Oz is hyped up but at the end of the series, usually it gets forgotten and it is not like the ashes rivalry where English and Oz fans keep the rivalry going even when there is no play going on between the two countries.
Rohit Sharma for example has made very sympathetic noises on the banned players and so have quite a few of the players and fans.
Mickey Arthur has predictably weighed to criticise the “boorish and arrogant” Aussie team culture. The perception since his sacking as Australia’s Head Coach in 2013 is that his approach to the role was just too “UnStrayan” and was never going to work out. That may well be the case. Suspending the naughty children for not handing in their homework certainly didn’t go down well. He does acknowledge that there are things he might’ve done differently.
Obviously a man still seeking closure and retrospective understanding, he was never likely to hold his tongue following recent events. With the caveat that he’s clearly still bitter about the manner in which he was summarily ditched by Cricket Australia, his comments about the attitude of his erstwhile employers to his attempts to address aspects of team culture and discipline are nonetheless interesting: “When I pushed hard on issues of culture, I was told by my superiors to back off. And when I softened my approach, I was told to go in harder.” If that’s to be believed, then the board’s muddled attitude over a number of years – perhaps an awareness that there were some problems but a reluctance to deal with them head on for fear of pissing off the players and affecting team results – might explain a great deal. If that’s the case, Arthur probably has it right in the very first line of his article: “Unfortunately, it was always going to end like this.”
I’m a cynic and I see a media circus, orchestrated by Cricket Australia with precision. Smith has been “inconsolable” and we’ve been told that since the weekend. Poor little Steve. When it comes to donning the sackcloth and ashes, he’s plopped in front of the media at an airport, looking a litlle frazzled after a long flight (can’t look too polished, to lose the tie) and then cries his eyes out. The reaction on social media from press guys and fellow players tells you its worked to a tee. The tin hat on this will be Smith getting a reduced ban because of his contrition and it was all that bastard Warner’s fault.
Why hasn’t CA put Warner in front of the cameras? We are being told to draw our own conclusions. He’s not sorry (although he’s tweeted that he is), he was drinking champers while Smith was sulking in his room, he’s not on their whatsapp group, the senior pros are mad (even though he’s never implicated them, remember that, in public like Steve (possibly not on purpose) did. No, we’ve seen this script before, and we saw it play out with our own bete noire.
While Tickers has grated on me a little recently, his article on Cricket365 is absolutely spot on and brilliantly written, the bastard. Especially on how this is now being run. Think about what CA are trying to achieve by this. What they need to do. Save their skins, their commercial deals, their face. They are running a script, and doing it well. By the end of it one man will be a pariah, and two will be sinners that truly repented. Amen. It’s Easter, we have a Judas, and we have a resurrection in the offing. I recommend it.
My favourite bit:
“Why hasn’t CA put Warner in front of the cameras?”
Because Warner says he wants to talk to his “trusted advisors” (lawyers?) before he talks to the press.
Michael Holding made an interesting point – why did the press officer / media advisor (what ever the hell they are called) tell them not to give the press conference at the end of the days play. It just mad things worse. He reckons they should have released a short statement and left it at that.
The next time you change your nom deplume, perhaps you can consider Cynicy McCynic-Face?
The main lesson learned by Cricket Australia is they won’t let that happen again.
The interesting bit for me is if you look at the reaction of those out there at the time, it was quite muted. It was only after Australia woke up, Clarke went on TV, and the big beasts weighed in (and social media) that the storm got out of control.
I might take the last suggestion under advisement.
By “out there” do you mean “out there” in South Africa ? I watched it unfold live and was just stunned. My immediate reaction was that it was going to be a huge scandal here in Australia.
My memory is that the South African fans and media didn’t get that fired up when their boys got caught (3 times?) On the other hand, fucking sand-paper!
Yes. Out in South Africa. I did write about it among loads of other stuff. It’s hard being totally consistent on moving sand (paper)! 🙂
Peter Lalor didn’t seem too fussed, even praising them for fessing up. None of the other cricket reporters went all in condemnatory. Only when Craddock, Wu, Clarke, Baum et al did so (and fuelled by some social media) that it became the maelstrom. From where I was sitting. Being out there DLP, you will obviously know a lot better (and thanks for all your input over the past few days).
let me try that again – why didn’t the media officer say “boys do not give a press conference, We will release a statement and allow no questions at this time”
You said right at the beginning Dmitri that they think it’s about ball tampering, but really it was all about the culture. Spot on!! CA don’t want to change the culture, nor do the Aussie media. They don’t think there is anything wrong with their sledging and elastic line that changes according to whoever they are playing against.
There is also the issue of the players pay dispute. Warner was not liked by the board for his involvement, (can’t believe I’m defending Warner) but I can see a public lynching when I see one. Particularly if it is to get others off the hook.
We have seen our own board and media play the role of judge , jury and executioner. This is like a Hollywood production. Slick, sleazy and shameless.
“Aw, Steve mate, have a look on YouTube at Kim Hughes blubbing in his press conference in 1984. Reckon you could do something like that for us? If we can make ’em feel sorry for ya, you’ll get back in the team no worries.”
The Aussie media, if I recall correctly, tortured Hughes over that. “Only losers cry”. He got little sympathy. Then Border came in and turned his team nasty and he’s venerated in Australia (and beyond) for it.
Aw look. I’ve no doubt Steve Smith is in a wretched place right now. I don’t doubt the sincerity of his visceral response to the charges he has admitted to. He may even feel a little let down and think he’s not really at fault. But the job has been done. He hasn’t bared the soul to a counsellor or confidante. He’s had to take his mental kicking in front of the media. In front of the world. Stop and think how cruel that is. But it’s for the greater good. The “nice guys” are really sorry and look really broken, when the other bastard has only put out one tweet and hasn’t had a presser. And he swilled champers with family and friends in the aftermath. We thought we’d let you know that.
Bit confused – are you suggesting that the ACB has used Smith or that Smith and the ACB are working together as part of a plan to rehabilitate Smith and crucify Warner?
I’m saying this is being very well media managed. I don’t disbelieve Steve Smith is mortified. I don’t know how this is going to play out. I don’t know what Cricket Australia is up to other than preserving the game.
I am just saying I am cynical. If I cared for my employee who was in a terrible mental position as he appears, would you stick him in front of the media, to bare his angst and agony in front of everyone, or would you protect him?
He could, of course, act his age and not cry.
That probably sounds unsympathetic. And it is. Seriously Steve, get a grip. You’re not 17 anymore.
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That could well be. Or perhaps we English are just off the scale in our cynicism and propensity to look for tin foil hat theories after the last few years of the ECB’s machinations.
Well, attitudes change and this was in different circumstances. “Only losers cry” was the unkind response to Hughes’ meltdown. This is Smith not throwing in the towel but publicly acknowledging that that he’s been a moronic dickhead and implicitly expressing a desire to renew his compact with the Aussie spirit and make up for dishonouring the baggy green cap. I’m sure it will play quite well. And yes, despite my satirical comment above, I’m sure he’s not in a good place at the moment and on a human level he has my sympathy. But you’re also right about the element of stage management behind all this. Smith’s long(ish) journey on the road to redemption started today.
Indeed. And in many ways, as a quite emotional person myself, I am pleased. There is always a place in this world for contrition. That’s why, in part, the year ban was a fucking joke.
I remember Alastair Campbell telling Tony Blair when his veneer of sincerity fell after the Ecclestone Affair, that he had to go on to TV, with the toughest interviewer and get his kicking over with and only then could that boil be lanced. Politics is infinitely more cynical than sport, but it stuck with me. The first step is to feel sorry for Steve Smith. And we do. I don’t think a man in this state of mental duress, fresh off a plane, should be put out there for that. I’m really sorry, that was hard for me to take.
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The bit where Smith whispers to the guy next to him “It’s OK, I have to do this” was truly horrible to watch.
I think you guys are right. I believe Smith is remorseful but at the same time the ACB (with the help of their media advisors) have a plan to rehabilitate him and the press conference was the start.
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And meanwhile, in a land not far far away…
ECB take on major critic
The beleaguered ECB, who have lost two directors in the past month, have now started legal action against one of their foremost critics.
ESPN Cricinfo’s respected, award-winning writer George Dobell is being sued for his attacks on chairman Colin Graves’ regime — with ECB lawyers Onside Law threatening a defamation case via an initial letter of claim.
Surrey’s Richard Thompson and Somerset’s Andy Nash both quit the board in protest at the way Graves was running the organisation.
Ironically, ESPN are owned by Disney, who could soon end up controlling Sky, who effectively bankroll the ECB through TV rights. The last high-profile ECB legal fight between former chairman Giles Clarke and sports management company IMG cost cricket’s ruling body a huge amount in legal fees before an out-of-court settlement.
Meanwhile, the ECB have announced an external review into Glamorgan being awarded £2.5million for not hosting Test cricket, which was one of the reasons Thompson quit the board.
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Free the GeorgeDobell1!!!
So much for a free press, eh?
Oh for fucks sake! How ridiculous.
Time for a government inquiry into the ECB.
we’re still waiting for the last one to happen… (3 years ago,,,)
Nothing to see here. Look over there at some Australians cheating.
As an aside, does no one think that sandpaper would be available at the ground? Surely the groundsmen would have a toolbox which would have some in it. Ron Swanson would never have a toolbox without sandpaper!!
I don’t think one escape goat will be enough. I think if as it appears he’ll never play for Australia again, and thereby never play IPL or anything else, he’s too much of an egotist to not shout out about the rest of the team who were aware of the cheating, and expose how long it has been happening (the SA cameramen were told to look out for it, so its not isolated).
CA are slightly stuffed then, part of Davey’s extra suspension is because he lied to investigators. When it comes out that Lehman, Saker and the senior bowlers also knew, what punishments will they receive?
Good luck to George, I am pretty sure that ESPN don’t publish libel, and so after spending more of our money the ECB will quietly settle.
Really? Not exactly a slow news day, is it?
They used to be indecisive but now they are not too sure.
And he was just starting to rock that NZ playing culture!
I’m not surprised he has resigned but I am surprised by the timing. I though he would till he was home.
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Lehmann stepping down after end of series…
In other news, England have responded to being bowled out for 58 in the last Test… by dropping two bowlers. (Strictly speaking two all rounders have been dropped and two specialist bowlers brought in, but it comes to much the same thing). Who was it here who predicted exactly that?
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James Vince. Not definitely in, but looks unlikely we’ll go in with Ali dropped and no batting to replace it. We aren’t going to play five seamers, are we?
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Leach could play and Stokes might not be able to bowl much, so not necessarily. Bringing in Vince to “strengthen” the batting after the last debacle would be… Do you know? I can’t quite come up with a word for what that would be.
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Received wisdom is that Hagley Oval doesn’t favour spinners. One of my sources on this is Selvey so take that with the grain of salt required.
Or they might play Leach on an unhelpful wicket, where he does little, and our gurus go “see….” You decide,
Well after all, he’s been lucky enough to have the opportunity to tour with the senior team (though only due to the injury of another, more esteemed, player). We can’t have him getting any further above his station by actually making it into the final eleven, now can we?
But yes, if circumstances dictate that he needs to play we know there’ll be those willing him to fail.
“Bringing in Vince to “strengthen” the batting after the last debacle would be… Do you know? I can’t quite come up with a word for what that would be.”
I think Sir Humphrey Appleby would call it “brave” 🙂
There are no vacancies in the England middle order! Ha
Or any other part of the batting line up.
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Apparently Warner did talk briefly to the press at the airport but said nothing much. He has again promised to say more in a few days.
I just watched the clip of the arsehole from the Kyle and Jackie O shoe heckle Steve Smith. Tell me again who is an embarrassment to this county???
DLP – I’ve tried to hear the Q from those guys multiple times but I can’t distil from the camera clicks. Can you tell me what you though the question was? Thanks
“Steve, we’re going to take a different tack on this. My Names Intern Pete from the Kyle and Jackie O show here mate. I want to let you know I’m from the perspective from non-sports communities of Australia. To see you upset tonight is very sad. We asked our listeners, as I said we’re not a sports show, we asked our listeners what we thought about this and we have… we opened up to them and mate I gotta tell you hold your head up high for a little bit for what you have done because what has actually been worse is what Devina and Dean did on married at first sight. You know what I mean?”
He then get drowned out by noise.
Found this on line
“Now, in an interview with news.com.au, Deppeler said his comments weren’t a set-up, nor was he asked by the show to say what he did.
“As everyone watching at home saw, the solemnness of the moment was extraordinary,” Deppeler told news.com.au. “To many, it held a lot more intensity than one would expect for a sporting incident. Steve was so upset which surprised everyone in the room and I just wanted to let him know that it truly wasn’t the end of the world. “It wasn’t my intention to make light of his personal situation, but to show him that the millions of Australians who aren’t obsessed with cricket empathise with him. But timing is everything and, on reflection, it wasn’t the best time to ask that.”
He went on: “All week everyone had been acting like he was a criminal and I wanted to show him that many Australians don’t think the world has ended because of this tampering incident.”
The problem is Intern Pete has a history of bullshit stunts so I doubt very many people believe him.
“Despite telling media yesterday that I’m not resigning, after reviewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting it’s only fair that I make this decision.”
So Lehmann has resigned, but again Davey’s thrown under a bus. Steve and Cameron are upset, Davey’s laughing, drinking champagne and twirling a villainous moustache
“I’m resigning because I care so much about my players [some of them] especially when it’s too late.”
Daily Mail: We want a load of pictures of men crying.
Jobs a good ‘un.
Never thought I’d see Lehmann looking like that.
I don’t quite know what to make of all that. It’s a circus. The captain crying, the coach crying, at least Warner wasn’t crying, he left that to his wife. Kids being paraded in front of the cameras hanging onto their mum. Moron jouno screaming out crap at the press conference.
Where is your dignity Australia?
Couldn’t you let them back into the country without all this, and have the press tomorrow without wives and kids present ?
It is a measure of how cynical I have become that the whole thing couldn’t have been more staged to garner sympathy.
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“Where is your dignity Australia?”
Not our finest moment all round really.
The comments are pretty foul.
Meanwhile the Sydney Morning Herald has claimed that the scandal could cost CA as much as $500 million. A wise man once said this is about more than ball tampering.
Personally, I would say it is time for us to stop the focus on this incident . Every team is guilty of planned ball tampering and instead of saying there but for the grace of God goes I or my team, there seems to be a tremendous desire from many to put the boot in especially from ex-players who had a grouse against Smith or Warner or journalists who disliked them.
It is almost as if Smith or Warner were to commit Harakiri, the righteous ones with no record of cheating on anything would be satisfied.
It is crazy.
It isn’t just about the ball tampering. It’s the culture that has been out of control for ages. And why should we stop talking about it? We are supporters and customers of the game. We pay our money why should we shut up about it? Maybe if the ICC (which is basically the Indian cricket board with the ECB and CA in tow) had taken stronger action we wouldn’t be here.
Wasn’t it the case a few years ago that Sachin got accused of ball tampering, and the Indian board wouldn’t accept the match referee for the next game because he had slurred the holly Sachin?
You are a lovely chap Sri, and I know you want to see the best in everybody but I read your post above about the India media. I think you are a little bit one eyed there. Didn’t they send out a memo to Indian commentators not permitting them from criticising the Indian board? We are very critical of our own board, and media on this site, Therefore we should have no qualms about criticising other countries. You will find many on here who openly admit that English players have been guilty of bad behaviour including ball tampering and sledging.
Mark, you are confused between commentators speaking of the action in a match during the commentary who owe some loyalty to the BCCI and try to be polite and the rest of the media. it is like reading one article from mike selvey and making up your mind about the english media in general 🙂
Maybe 50 people in India would speak or write in favor of the BCCI in articles or on TV and 50000 would speak against them 🙂
Of course, you would not have read or watched much of Indian media but you have e not missed much 🙂 . Recommend a look at sharda ugra, ram guha, dileep premachandran, prem panicker and so many others critical on the BCCI.
There is no way the Indian media cut slack for the BCCI. Even if you watch debates on primetime TV there will be people screaming about the BCCI and how they should be taken to task.
Blaming the ICC is always easy as they usually leave a lot of scope. But,in this case, all teams are to blame for planned ball tampering to take wickets even though it is against the rules. Putting the boot in Oz because of the team and most of the media and fans’ general hypocrisy in believing that their team are a bunch of saints and all the rest are not is fine for a while but don’t you think that when as an English fan, you know that many english cricketers have done the same and gotten away scot free, putting the boot in again and again is really not done?
We’ve had words about this, but let me sum it up from my perspective.
1. Australia, mostly in the form of a number of their journos in particular, have lorded it over England with their high and mighty sanctimony. When we win it is because we cheat. Ball tampering, pitch doctoring, slowing the game down, playing boring, dull cricket. I noticed the one cretin, Malcolm Conn, in particular over there in 2002. In 2006 he accused England of killing test cricket because we made 270 for 3 on the opening day of a test. He isn’t a journalist, he’s a one-eyed, tosser who is more concerned at what is on our player’s birth certificates than how they play. You know, how is Jonathan Trott playing for England, while ignoring Andrew Symonds, Usman Khawaja et al. In most countries I know that gets the “r” word. Conn takes this to an extreme. When this went down I thought about him and his cohorts. The one-eyed Channel 9 team. The press out there. This isn’t us being sanctimonious and putting the boot into players, it us putting the boot into those who sought to put Australia on a moral pedestal. And woe betide any English journo trying to do that here with us. We put the boot in harder. Newman, Pringle, Selvey et al.
2. I know no English cricket fan who thinks these bans aren’t anything other than totally ridiculous. They are completely OTT.
3. As a reader of this blog, you know what we think of England cricketers portrayed as saints. We know they are not, never thought they have been, and never will.
We also all know that if this situation were reversed, how much sympathy and empathy would come from the likes of Conn and his cohorts. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but hell, I’m not going to have any sympathy for them, or the people running the game in Australia. And again, if you think we go soft on who runs our game in England?
You come from a good place, Sri, and I don’t mean that to sound patronising. But I am stuffed if I’m not down on Australians who treat anyone not on their patch as sub-species, and who think there’s nothing more than a good old piece of “look at his birth certificate” to have a go at the English team.
And on David Warner. I loathe him. Hate the way he plays the game as a baiter in chief. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen this movie before. The blame really only falling on one man, a bad apple, and while the others can rehabilitate, the land is being prepared to expel Warner to. It’s sad to watch, but we think we know how this plays out. The convenient scapegoat is the model that enrages me the most.
Sri, you can’t have read this site very carefully if you think this. We are regarded as pariahs in the English cricket establishment, and many of the England fans. We supported one player over the ECB, and about 75% of England followers. We have been called every name under the sun.
The English media have disliked us, and the higher ups. The idea we can be accused of playing the one eyed little Englander is not credible. You can disagree with us, you can hate us (I doubt you have any hate in you Sri) but we are not the English Malcom Conns.
Finally. coming to Sach, I am not sure what point you are trying to make. If the BCCI made a hue and cry about his being penalized, it is completely different from how OZ have treated their players.
So, the sachin incident is valid for criticizing the BCCI or Sachin but not sure how far it is relevant to the current incident especially when a) sachin’s infraction supposedly was because he did not inform the umpires before handling the ball and b) the problem was that the match referee suspended 4/5 indian players for a test for excessive appealing.
In any case, my stand is not that Sachin is not guilty of ball tampering but simply that given the way the current offences are framed, it is such that there is tacit acceptance of ball tampering unless done obviously 🙂
So, the hypocrisy lies in making a big fuss about the ones who are caught simply because they are aussie anbd we do not like warner’s behavior when you know that members of the english, indian, south african, pakistani, sri lankan teams should also have been banned.
Also on warner , kane Williamson is on record after the ban that he found warner a nice guy. So, it is not as black and white as one may suppose reading all you guys takes on warner.
Just like KP had his faults but Indians liked to watch him, Warner has his faults but we like to watch him and while we consider him a bully and crude, we also consider Anderson a bully who has gotten away with all his bullying as also Broad.
So, hypocrisy, bullying, sledging, different lines etc are not unique only to Oz. Yes, they tom tommed it a lot more which probably has led to people breaking down with laughter but at a point, the people laughing should also start reflecting.
I do feel for Smith and Bancroft, but there’s zero sympathy for Warner. Someone who uses deceased family members of another cricketer as sledge has no sympathy from me no matter what happens to him.
Sympathy probably isn’t the right word for how I feel about it. He’s been pretty vile a lot of the time and I’m sure he played a major role in this imbroglio. Yet you can see the narrative forming of Smith and Bancroft falling under the spell of Evil Davey, where they are deserving of that sympathy as though they have no minds of their own and didn’t go along with it. Likewise, I simply don’t believe the bowlers weren’t aware of it going on, it’s implausible given they have the ball in their hands all the time.
So no, not sympathy for his actions or punishment, but objections to him being portrayed as a dastardly genius, plotting behind the backs of noble, misguided team mates.
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Good to see Malcolm Conn is taking this well:
People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones mate. You have made a living out of being a professional troll for decades. Your boys screwed up big time, and got caught with their fingers in the cookie jar. Suck it up.
You make cyclops look two eyed.
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Bit harsh on Sean don’t you think?
Well he called me an Ass this afternoon, so no. Pile in Mark!
PS, I asked for it!
He’s probably wishing he stayed in Tampa right now…
I’m confused. I was talking about Australia’s one eyed hero…… not Sean.
The Aussies Joan of Arc……….“A nation is hurting and @stevesmith49 feels the pain. The long road to healing has began.”
A joke, Mark. Just a joke.
Actually it’s two jokes for the price of one. Your little joke and Malcolm Conn. And he is giant of a joke.
Smith has faced a baying press pack and Lehmann has resigned. The bowlers (who must logically have been aware of the efforts to alter the condition of the ball that were, after all, being undertaken on their behalf) and the bowling coach are the people who we’re not hearing from. Cricket Australia doesn’t seem to have any interest at all in scrutiny falling upon them. Could there be a promotion for Saker now that Lehmann’s moving on? Just don’t ask me what I’d think about that if it actually happened.
I haven’t heard that story – what did Warner say?
Warner supposedly sledged Bairstow about his father, who committed suicide. But the accounts of said sledge are pretty vague and Bairstow hasn’t said anything about it. I cling to the hope that Warner wouldn’t sink that low.
I think Dave Tickner’s piece mentioned above is a work of genius. I don’t really have too much to add, except to say that I found the Smith press conference an exceedingly hard watch.
I’m getting the feeling that the Aussies will be insufferable again pretty soon – “aw look, we’re much tougher on our cheats than you are on yours mate, we make ours blub.” Not looking forward to that.
Also, I’m surprisingly disappointed not to be able to watch Smith bat for a year. Not because I enjoy it, it’s a ghastly aesthetic experience. But because my personal opinion is that his idiosyncratic technique was beginning to unravel, and his average was destined to head back to a sensible level. Now if he fails when he returns – or doesn’t return at all – he’ll always be the “best since Bradman” whose career interruption was the problem.
For what it’s worth, I think Warner was going the same way – when you’re getting repeatedly cleaned up by pace top of off it’s usually a sign the eyes – particularly picking up of length – are just beginning to go. Think Mike Hussey in 2009.