BETFINAL’S LOOKBACK AT THE WEEKEND –
Introducing our weekly review of the hottest sporting events happening every weekend! Every Tuesday’s we will feature one of our favourite sporting moments from the weekend just passed as the Monday blues begin to settle. We bring you the biggest moments from the weekend from all sports around the globe!
South Africa Vs Australia, 3rd Test, Cape town.
Lying to our Faces! Australia’s Deceit and Dishonour.
Members of the Australian cricket team were found guilty of ball-tampering on the third day of their Test match against South Africa. As shocking as it may sound, this is not as surprising as you might think. Similar accusations were brought against them by the English during The Ashes this year, although the claims were quashed due to lack of evidence.
A cricket team that once stood for rules and righteousness now faces an onslaught from its fans and authorities following Thursday’s unforgivable events.
Have the Aussies become the hooligans of cricket? Or are they so arrogant that they would choose corruption over collapse?
Cameron Bancroft, Australia’s youngest player, was caught on camera attempting to manipulate a cricket ball using a piece of tape. He admitted in a subsequent interview that he fashioned the tool out of yellow tape he found in his kit and granules he gathered from a wicket. He confessed that his intention was to change the condition of the ball by roughing it up.
Scuffing the ball on one side results in it deviating from its usual path and veering more to the left or right. It is referred to as a reverse-swing and usually happens when a cricket ball is 45 or more overs old. The reverse-swing helps fast bowlers produce unplayable deliveries. In the case of Bancroft, instead of waiting till the ball wore out naturally, he took matters into his own hands- quite literally.
When the team captain, Steve Smith, was asked about the misdeed, he admitted that it was hatched by the “leadership group” at lunch on the same day. He did not mention who formed part of the group but asserted that the coaches were not in on it. The fledgling player, catching wind of the plot, took it upon himself to execute the plan- a responsibility he would regret taking.
Adding insult to injury, Bancroft not only cheated but also lied about his fraudulent behaviour when questioned by the umpires. When he noticed that the jig was up, he threw the tape down his trousers and claimed the object in his pocket was a sunglasses case. You can’t make this stuff up!
Former Test captain, Michael Clarke, has no sympathy for those involved, stating that what occurred was “premeditated”, “disgraceful, and “blatant cheating”. Despite his harsh words, Clarke believes that Smith should retain his captaincy after the discredited skipper came clean of his misconduct. This view seemed to be shared only by Smith himself, emphasising in the press conference that he “still thinks he’s the right man for the job”.
However, this is not an opinion shared by many. Retired batsman, Jimmy Maher, called the scandal “a national day of shame” for Australia and The Australian Sports Commission demanded Smith give up his title.
As punishment from the ICC, Bancroft was charged with ball-tampering, fined 75% of his match fee and given three demerit points. These points will remain on his disciplinary record for 24 months. More seriously, Smith was charged with “conduct contrary to the spirit of the game”, fined all of his match fee (£10,000) and suspended for one match (the fourth Test day). Warner (who was implicated in the cheat) and Smith stepped down as vice-captain and captain, respectively, for the rest of the Test matches with investigations ongoing by Cricket Australia.
Dubbed the #Sandpapergate scandal, a play on Nixon’s infamous Watergate cover-up, fans did not react well to the fiasco. In the 2nd innings, the Australian team was booed on and off the field and only about a third of seats where filled, despite all tickets being sold. The match day ended with a final crushing blow to Australia’s ego- losing by 322 runs and all out for 107 in the 40th over.
With reputations tarnished, potentials capped, and dignity damaged- will Australia atone for their sins and come back stronger? Or is this the start of a downward spiral?