Australian Cricket Rubbing The World Up The Wrong Way. Is this one of the final nails in the cricket coffin?
The past few years has not been good for cricket and in fact has been mostly disastrous. A series of betting related match fixing events and generally fairly average if not poor cricket. Frankly there is too much of it, test series back to back with endless T20 and limited over games, that rarely threaten to fill even the most modest of stadia. Presumably all related to Sky and other purporters of live cricket ( with advertising slots assailing viewers ceaselessly) and the betting market ( with that nonsense phrase ” when the fun stops”…..).
For most cricket the fun stopped many years ago, the game has become too predictable and generally uninteresting to many fans. Fans are charged sometimes outrageous amounts of money to perhaps watch a game, dependent on the weather, the light, 2-3 day finishes in test cricket and other nonsense factors. Not surprisingly few fans watch test cricket as seen in the current South Africa v Australia series, and the New Zealand v England series.
Cricket has somehow survived until now. I have been a member of Sussex county cricket club for maybe 15-20 years but having nothing to do with the increasing cost am considering cancelling my membership . Mostly because the quality of the cricket is poor and often little better than club cricket. The players often seem disinterested. The sponsors are also moving away, as judged by the much reduced sponsorship seen for the Arundel cricket festival in 2017 for example. The recent events in South Africa however just maybe might put a final nail in the cricket coffin ( unless we include numerous meaningless “bash” competitions, that frankly have as much to do with cricket as french cricket did at school).
The cheating displayed by the Australians followed by their refusal to tell the truth until confronted by video evidence , the lack of remorse and the general nastiness exhibited by the Australians in how they play the “game”, just might be that final nail. Lets examine the facts:
- The Australians were found cheating, lied to umpires, media and by default the paying customers, and it is not credible that this is their first time. It is equally not credible that only three players were part of this. Would a bowler not have noticed a change in the physical ball or the swing immediately?
- The alleged remorse is fake. The real remorse is that they have been caught and punished with moderate sanctions. I take a view that would be simpler. Any cheating should be a lifetime ban from that sport. Leopards do not change their spots. From a psychological or psychiatric view personalities are fully formed and essentially unchangeable by cricketing age, of course behaviours can be changed, but the underlying desire to take that risk means it is not credible that they would be “cured” of cheating tendencies.
- The Australian players have created theatrical press conferences with wives, family members and young children in tow, that are obscene. What was needed was a genuine apology and a clear statement from each along the lines that they voluntarily would step back from cricket and never assume any leadership role.
- This is match fixing. Commentators in the national newspapers argue otherwise, but they are wrong. Match fixing is an attempt to illegally fix a result. This is the same a doping, diving, lying and all the other kinds of pretence seen in sport.
So what should happen. My view is that the players involved should voluntarily stand down from cricket for a year at minimum, that they should never have any leadership role again and finally they should donate their salary for a year to charity. Why are they receiving any salary still until June 2018? All these simple actions of humility would mean far more than fake tears of remorse. Lastly they should actually tell the truth and not hide behind the ongoing Cricket Australia investigations. It would be a good start to tell all bodies the truth and maybe start with the general public who after all pay their wages. Moving forwards sporting cheats should receive a lifetime ban, as who wants these characters in the sports that we love. They are paid huge sums of money to excel in their sports and by default be role models to some extent.