Australian Cricket In A Quagmire

Picture Courtesy : The Indian Express

Picture Courtesy : The Indian Express

The cricket world was rocked recently when dramatic visuals emerged during the third Test between Australia and South Africa. That of Australian players cheating on the field and indulging in ball tampering. Skipper Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and deputy David Warner , from heroes became villains in a dramatic  and sensational dip in fortunes.

This series between Australia and South Africa was definitely not played in right spirit . But to see Aussie players take to cheating is something unthinkable or never imagined at first place. It was shocking to say the least.

This ball tampering scandal has come at a time when Australia it seemed had the young generation capable of taking Australia forward after the retirements of the greats – Ricky Ponting Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath. And leading the gen next was undoubtedly Steve Smith. And backed by the aggressive opener David Warner.

It is known that aussie players take great pride in wearing the baggy green cap and proud to carry forward the legacy of the iconic Sir Don Brad Bradman. But this cheating scandal has tarnished that reputation and leaving Australian cricket with a taint that will be hard to erase.

Australia does play the game hard with their fearless , aggressive approach . And their players with ease take to playing mind games to rattle the rivals . Sledging could be nasty and sometimes personal. The Aussies desire to win and become invincible is no doubt praise worthy but sometimes they have crossed the line and the putting the gentleman’s game at the crossroads. Leading cricket pundits to question and criticise their quest for victory at any cost. Even it means demeaning the game itself.

Seeing the teary image of former skipper Steve Smith and apologies by David Warner and Cameron Bancroft after their return to Australia from South Africa . One could sense that the trio had finally come terms to the mistake they had committed. It makes one wonder and ask Steve Smith why? What was the need to do it ?

Smith at 28 is at the peak of his batting prowess. He has been rated along- side England Test skipper Joe Root and Indian skipper superstar Virat Kohli as the best young batsman in  world cricket today, so why the hell did Smith dug a grave for himself?

The one year ban imposed on Warner , Smith and nine months for Bancroft will give them the time to ponder as to what tempted them to do this stupid thing South Africa. And letting the fans and country – Australia down.

The one year ban means that Steve Smith and David Warner miss out of the IPL 2018 too. The BCCI too had said they will toe the Cricket Australia’s action on Warner and Smith.

Both will be missed from the cricketing perspective. As both are  match- winners. Warner in-fact lead the Sunrisers Hyderabad to IPL 2016 victory. And has been one of the stars of the IPL for his athletic fielding, inspiring captaincy and explosive batting at the top of the order. Smith , on the other hand nearly won the IPL 2017 when he lead the Rising Pune Supergiant to the finals  only lose to Mumbai Indians in a hearth breaking contest by 1 run.

Only time will tell how Warner and Smith since they both have age of their side , how they stage a return to international cricket? It will be tough ask no doubt. Given the fierce competition for places in the Aussie side, it will not be cakewalk for them to walk into the team straight away. The duo will miss the high voltage Test series later on the year against Virat Kohli’s India.

But are in line to get a recall to the national team for the World Cup in England 2019. That too is not guaranteed . So Steve Smith and David Warner the future is quite tense. How they battle out of this predicament and salvage their cricketing career’s  remains to be seen.

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