The Serious Implications of Sandpapergate

I was on my way to church and were running through the chords of the songs we were going to sing for the service when I first started to read about the ball tampering incident between Australia and South Africa. I more or less tweeted immediately that Cameron Bancroft should have been red carded for the event. I have since then intentionally kept quite on this topic. The fact is that Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Steven Smith colluded together to tamper the ball. They were given punishments based on what the ICC and Cricket Australia have in their statutes. The BCCI had no option but to ban Steven Smith and David Warner from the IPL. Cricket Australia banned the trio from international and domestic cricket. I believe that allowing Smith and Warner to play in the IPL would have reduced the value of the IPL. The apologies from Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft combined with them accepting their bans makes them seems genuine. Lehmann seemed remorseful too in his press conference. The silence of David Warner thunders above them. Candice Warner interview has not helped him either.

I have not changed my view since my first tweet. The red card system should have been more exhaustive. Most of the drama could have been avoided if something significant was done there and then. An attempt was made to tamper the ball. The umpires should have awarded South Africa penalty runs, changed the ball and red carded Bancroft. Further punishments could have been given if deemed fit at the end of the day or the innings. Footballers are penalised if they are deemed to have acted as if they dived or if they feign an injury. Similar punishments should be done in cricket. Tampering the ball will be high on the least. I would add time wasting especially to save a test match or get through the end of a session. The addition of the third umpire and review system has been great for cricket. Not only has it increased the number of right decisions but it has raised the standard of umpiring. Decentralisation has been really good in this case. However I believe that more power should be given to the umpires to curb problems that arise on the field.

The heroes of this saga are first Fanie de Villiers who tipped the camera crew that the Aussies may be cheating. The second are the Australian public who took a really good stand. This article clearly states the reason for the outcry. The Australian government should not have got involved. Politics and cricket should be kept separate.

The thing that troubles me the most is none of the Australian bowlers were part of the plan. I find this very hard to believe. James Anderson and Stuart Broad are obsessive about the ball. The English team in general are. Alaistar Cook is allowed to handle the ball because his hands hardly sweat. Fielders are instructed to handle the ball properly once the ball has developed. I find it hard to believe that none of the bowlers was involved in some form or that they did not notice that the ball suddenly had scuffs.

Hopefully ,this is the last of this. There is a month to the start of the English season and the IPL in between should provide a nice break. I am looking forward to the forthcoming season. The teams from the subcontinent will be in full force. Ireland and Afghanistan have one off tests. West Indies will also be playing. I will be taking my cricket index live this season onwards. I believe I have tweaked it properly. I hope that the season will be in the news for all the good reasons. We need something to celebrate cricket after everything that has happened.

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