The ball tampering scandal in Australian cricket at Cape Town last year left a bad mark on the sport. Remember when David Warner was banned for the incident in South Africa for one year, noted as the instigator? Steve Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft were also suspended, the latter for a shorter nine months.
Now there has been one orbit of the sun and the bans are about to expire. Has the team recovered after the big hole left by the departing captain and his deputy? Recent games have not been impressive with frequent losses.
All the sackings have taken their toll and the organization needs some severe adjustment after the ball-tampering admission by Smith and Bancroft. It created a crisis and put the beleaguered team in the international spotlight.
Bancroft spoke before TV cameras:
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I want to be here (in the press conference) because I want to be accountable for my actions.”
It is a different animal for the women’s teams. Life (the sport) goes on as there was no implication that they were involved. In other news, Darren Lehmann quit the Australian national team after seeing Smith’s and Bancroft’s various gut-wrenching media conferences, feeling the team must move forward. He was replaced by Justin Langer,
He left stating
“We set some values nine or 10 months ago and we looked at how we’re going with those values, and how we can use our values and our behaviors to keep moving the team forward on and off the field. We talked about making Australians proud, we talked about great cricketers and great people.”
Smith is quoted as responding in these words
“Going through the values that are instilled in the team at the moment and making sure we’re on the right path.”
It’s a new day for the reinstated players who left their mark a year earlier and temporarily changed the face of Australian cricket. The public has not been amused at the unraveling of the team.
Tim Paine, emergency Test captain notes
“We need to listen to our fans and the Australian public and give them a cricket team that they are proud of – win, lose or draw.”
Justin Langer is expected to display a new style, softening his combative years as a player. It is all about a younger and different generation with their own values and sense of camaraderie. The Test team is struggling to get in shape with weak batting and meagre bowlers.
However, a streak of wins hasn’t hurt the new team’s efforts. Smith and Warner should regain their spots amid the likes of Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch. Then there is Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb doing their parts. It will take some sorting out to accommodate the unethical culprits. Time will tell.