Is it right for Australia to own Steve Smith?

Geoff Parkes Columnist

By Geoff Parkes, Geoff Parkes is a Roar Expert

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235 Have your say

    The reaction to Steve Smith’s involvement in the ball tampering controversy in South Africa has been a pot pourri of the considered, sharply observed, hysterical, vindictive and misguided.

    More than anything else, it has been intense, on a scale that transcends sport, relegating the transgressions of national figures such as Rolf Harris, Christopher Skase and Barnaby Joyce to nicking lunch money status.

    This is Australia’s Chicago White Sox moment, where a once-loved team fixed the 1919 World Series, leading to an emotional outpouring of grief from a naïve public far less streetwise and aware than folk today. That cricket fans and the general public alike are so upset and angry with Smith speaks to the notion that the cynicism towards, and low expectations of, leaders, so prevalent in our society, does in fact have its limits.

    So why is it that seemingly every man, woman and their dog feels that it is their business to have Smith placed in the stocks to have whatever punishment they determine meted out to him when he is merely the captain of a sporting team?

    The answer is that the position of Australian cricket captain is no run-of-the-mill sporting appointment. When Kim Hughes shed tears at his resignation press conference in 1984, here was not another mortal cricketer folding under the intense pressure of a genuinely frightening West Indies pace attack, but a weak, deficient sook, very publicly calling into question the virility of all Australian men.

    Smith’s crime is not that he has slandered the reputation of Australia’s manhood, but that he has implicitly destroyed Australia’s reputation as a people who compete hard but fairly.

    Steve Smith

    (Photo by Robert Prezioso – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

    The Australian psyche is that it is okay to be a little rough around the edges, in a Paul Hogan, shrimp on the barbie type of way, or to take a sickie from work for the hang of it. But while individuals may differently interpret what constitutes a ‘fair go’, it is important for Australians to believe that the rest of the world respects them for knowing right from wrong.

    It is of no consequence that the integrity of cricket has been bruised, battered and dismembered many times over by players from all countries. And no matter the overreach in the demands from many that Smith never plays cricket again. Rightly or wrongly, for many Australians this matter is personal, by extension it is their reputation that has been sullied and their contract with the Australian captain that has been so savagely torn apart.

    No better was this evidenced in the reaction of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday, as the story took on a life of its own. Politicians interjecting into sporting matters are almost always fertile grounds for cynicism, but for a struggling Turnbull, this incident suddenly provided him with an opportunity to appear authentically prime ministerial – expressing his personal shock and disappointment, simultaneously speaking for many people in doing so.

    Here was a man as genuinely hurt and confused as any fourth-grade suburban cricketer – an all too rare moment of non-confected, non-media managed empathy and connection with Australian people.

    While some have pointed to a link between Smith’s actions and the gradual moral and behavioural decline in our politicians, in a ‘why should we be so surprised?’ kind of way, what is informative is the public reaction and difference in perspective to Smith’s cheating compared to the voting rorts scandal that has recently engulfed the Victorian government.

    On one hand here is a sportsman engaged in an unlawful activity deemed so heinous by the game’s governing body to warrant a mere one-match suspension, versus a government found by the state Ombudsman to have wrongly engaged in an “artifice” to obtain an unfair advantage at the 2014 state election, spending nearly $400,000 of taxpayer money in doing so.

    For his troubles Smith has found himself leading every news bulletin and every Twitter feed for days, and he will continue to remain under the blowtorch for weeks to follow.

    By contrast, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been held to account for cheating by one pursuing newspaper but ridden it out while other media have lost interest. For some, it is just another ho-hum story of politicians having their snouts in the public trough, but for others, it is the increasing partisanship of the media that is the reason why the story has slipped off the radar.

    Unfortunately for Smith, there is no political left and right to savage him on one hand and save him on the other. He, and the position of Australian cricket captain, belongs to everyone, and he is a cheat in everyone’s eyes, left and right.

    Steve Smith

    (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

    It doesn’t help that Smith and David Warner were both last year the face of a push by Australian cricket players to receive a greater share of Cricket Australia revenue. It was, as these types of pay disputes often are, an ugly matter, played out in the public arena, with both sides striving to claim the moral high ground and the support of fans.

    Implicit in their approach was the notion that the players deserved a ‘seat at the big table’, where, because they were chiefly responsible for generating the revenue in the first place, they should have a voice in determining how that money should be spent.

    It is acutely ironic that today, the quantum of that revenue number is likely to be reduced – not wholly, but in part due to the stupidity of the actions of these very same players – and that those players have proven so emphatically that they are not fit to be allowed anywhere near a boardroom table or any pot of money that isn’t their own.

    Another point of anger is that Test cricket is currently in an existential battle to retain its relevance and status, in the face of a multitude of what are purported to be complementary, but which really are competing, short-forms of cricket.

    Had this same ball tampering incident occurred while Cameron Bancroft and Smith were playing for a Bangladeshi T20 franchise, it would have been brushed off as no more or less than what could be expected from a form of the game that worships the generation of cash more than the pure form of cricket.

    In this case, context is everything. Smith is representing Australia, and in the wash-up, Test cricket has shown itself to be ‘real cricket’ and something worth protecting. Perhaps in the long run, Smith will be shown to have done Test cricket a favour, although at a crippling personal cost.

    The episode also exploded to life this week on ABC Melbourne radio, where indignant callers, e-mailers and texters demanded an end to government funding of sportspeople – in particular the AIS – as well as demanding that governments redirect spending on sport to ‘more worthy’ pursuits such as the arts.

    Never mind that the AIS and many of its subsistence level living athletes in low-profile Olympic sports are light years removed from the riches of the Indian Premier League available to Smith, or that, in the free-market commercial world, musicians, actors and writers can already earn multiples more than what Smith earns – if indeed they are good enough or have the motivation to do so.

    Even if this was nothing more than misguided bleating about the lack of parity and fairness in Australian society, it only reinforced again how Smith belongs not only to the suburban kids and dads who front at Kanga cricket, but to the tree huggers of Northcote, and everyone else in between.

    What is also galling for Australians is that any sense of moral superiority over cricket enemies like India, South Africa and England must now be conceded. Sure, they have done the similar things – in some cases on multiple occasions – but the public outcry confirms that Australians insists upon being better than that.

    This is bought into even sharper focus by the side setting itself up as the moral guardians of crickets’ ‘line’ of what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. Remember that the real reason a lynch mob pursued Barnaby Joyce for days was not because he conducted an affair, but because of his hypocrisy in leading a ‘family values’ crusade against same-sex marriage while doing so.

    In these pages in recent years, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum was pilloried – by many who sarcastically called him Saint Brendan – for overtly attempting to raise standards of sportsmanship and respect for the opposition.

    Brendon McCullum New Zealand Cricket Test Cricket 2016

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    As ham-fisted as McCullum’s approach may have been, many of those detractors are today facing the realisation that McCullum was, in fact, right – New Zealand now not only basking in the glory of a decisive Test win over England, but sunning itself on the moral high ground for the manner in which it was achieved.

    And while New Zealand too has had players involved with ball tampering and other unsavoury incidents over the years, every single cricket follower knows what current captain Kane Williamson would have said and done, had a plan to cheat in this manner been suggested to him.

    Australians like their leaders to be strong people who, if for some reason the wrong thing is done, take responsibility for their actions. Smith may have felt that a quick, casual mea-culpa at the initial press conference following the incident would be sufficient to blow the matter over, but he clearly had little sense of how actual leadership and responsibility extends far beyond a few weasel words.

    In Australia’s court of public opinion Smith is not only guilty of ball tampering, but the far more heinous crime of being a leader who let a young charge take much of the heat, and who then implicated other teammates through his imprecise, unconvincing comments.

    Strong leaders either admit to nothing and ride out the consequences or, if a confession is what is required, make those admissions frankly and unambiguously.

    Smith’s reaction was half-arsed and today he is paying a heavy price for that. If that price outweighs the actual offence, at least Smith will have plenty of time outside of the game to come to terms with how the position of Australian cricket captain comes with a huge caveat: everybody owns you.

    Geoff Parkes
    Geoff Parkes

    Geoff is a Melbourne-based sports fanatic and writer who started contributing to The Roar in 2012 under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Union Conflict; The Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy, was released in December 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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    The Crowd Says (235)

    • Roar Rookie

      March 29th 2018 @ 5:22am
      savage said | March 29th 2018 @ 5:22am | ! Report

      Whether the punishment is harsh or not(harsh IMO),but it certainly has given warning to all the players who regularly go overboard with their antics.

      • March 29th 2018 @ 8:48am
        Ches said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        The offence was ball tampering. Warner in particular had previous perceived grievances “bundled” with his case.

        CA was so messy in the way they handled this by bundling issues. Previous players and the public did not help either.

        Changing the “culture” of the team is one thing and should have been treated and handled separately.

        • Columnist

          March 29th 2018 @ 8:56am
          Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        • Columnist

          March 29th 2018 @ 8:56am
          Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          It’s interesting though Ches how a previous attempt to change the culture under Mickey Arthur was resisted by the players.

          So there’s an argument in this case that if a culture change is to be made then extreme measures are required.

          Which doesn’t tie in with the retention of Lehmann as coach however…

          • March 29th 2018 @ 12:00pm
            Perthstayer said | March 29th 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report


            Stuart Lancaster’s primary role was to rebuild team culture even if that came at a price of results. It worked until of course he buckled under pressure from on high.

            I wonder, could this sordid event see Australia stomach a year, even two, of culture rebuild at the price of (possibly) performance?

            • Columnist

              March 29th 2018 @ 1:21pm
              Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

              It’s an interesting premise Perthstayer.

              I think on one hand it will be easier for Australia to undertake a cultural change in cricket and maintain performance, because there are large numbers of very good players able to step forward. And while cricket is a team game, the major aspects of performance are still very much individual (batting, bowling) compared to say rugby where there is a higher teamwork component.

              If we look at NZ as an example, you could argue that they may have suffered on the field in recent years by not selecting Ryder, but the trade-off was that this allowed them to effect the culture change they wanted sooner. (Nicholls is now starting to pay dividends so NZ Cricket will feel that the gain outweighed any pain)

              The other side of the coin is that cricket is unusual in elite team sports because the players have a far higher degree of power. So that makes effecting culture change far more difficult, as evidenced by Mickey Arthur’s coaching experience.

              But one thing that is almost certain to come out of what really is a ‘line in the sand’ moment, is that the player power will be diminished as Cricket Australia insists upon cultural change. The fact that their sponsorship and broadcast revenues will be significantly reduced gives them the moral authority to drive this.

              • March 29th 2018 @ 5:40pm
                Simoc said | March 29th 2018 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

                CA is the problem. Meek leadership from Sutherland under the most hopelessly incompetent Board of Directors led by the failed Peever.
                This has been brewing and now exploded years down the track.

                Smith owned up to cheating in India (DRS) once, even though it was a regular occurrence so I think initially he thought this incident was minor to. It seems he was charged by CA for the cover up afterwards when they were pretending to tell us what happened. As in:


                I think the price is high enough already without any bans for these guys. They need to get away from cricket and Australia for awhile.

                But the bans are to please the rabid population and their lust for blood.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 1:16pm
            Ches said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

            Yes, agreed

    • Roar Guru

      March 29th 2018 @ 6:47am
      Rabbitz said | March 29th 2018 @ 6:47am | ! Report

      Hi Geoff,

      The members of sporting teams often claim to represent Australia.

      By donning the Baggy Green and accepting the C beside his name, Smith has bought into that claim of representation.

      The Australian public then rightly feel that if you are representing us, then we have skin in the game.

      You ask “So why is it that seemingly every man, woman and their dog feels that it is their business to have Smith placed in the stocks to have whatever punishment they determine meted out to him when he is merely the captain of a sporting team?”.

      He and his fellow players have wronged us, somewhat directly due to the image of them being our representatives. By acting in the way they have, they have not only tarnished themselves but have tarnished us as well. That is why there is such anger.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 29th 2018 @ 6:55am
        savage said | March 29th 2018 @ 6:55am | ! Report

        As a neutral,now I think Anger is justified.

      • Columnist

        March 29th 2018 @ 8:00am
        Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        Hi Rabbitz

        No question that your reaction is that of many, many Australians, a big percentage of whom are only casual cricket followers at best.

        It’s been a fascinating outpouring of indignation which has now led to sanctions that many would say are out of perspective with the actual crime. Which might be so if the crime was only ball tampering, but what the players are now discovering is that their punishment is really for letting the Australian people down.

        What’s also fascinating is that people’s reactions and the general outcry is overwhelmingly genuine and heartfelt.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 12:09pm
          Torchbearer said | March 29th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          So who pays his multi million dollar wage- the fans who pay big bucks to go to a Test, the kids that buy KFC, the taxpayers that fund cricket facilities across the country etc etc… we are not passive observers, we pay his salary and support his sport. For that the least we can expect that he will not cheat. It is not too much to ask.

          So many apologists for Australian male juvenile behavior (we see it from our cricket team, NRL Players, the Eddie Maguires and Stefonovics and Joyces ) etc….. you don’t see the Matildas, or the womens swimming team or Netballers act like infantile idiots.

          Australian sports men- GROW UP.

          • Columnist

            March 29th 2018 @ 1:26pm
            Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

            You reinforce the point very strongly Torchbearer. It’s central to what has occurred since the incident blew up, and one that the players clearly had little understanding of.

    • March 29th 2018 @ 6:58am
      Dave said | March 29th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      Hashim Amla is a gentleman

      He was interviewed and had a bit to say about Smith and Co..
      He is sympathetic..
      Everyone makes mistakes…

      It could me that we should all be a little more forgiving

      • March 29th 2018 @ 8:09am
        Rats said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        Many Indian ex-players too feel sympathetic towards the three players. Especially Smith…
        But all seem to agree including rest of the world, that the reactions have been harsh because rest of the world thinks it’s pay back for Aussies for the way they have been acting since few years. Being a moral police for rest of the world..
        I mean how can you not have a go at Warner when you what he said 3 years back after Du Plessis incident. “We will never do it.. not the Aussie way. We don’t need to do it to win matches” .. that’s why rest of the world is give it back to him. but yes, when things cool down everyone will forgive him. He is a human and humans make mistakes. Sometimes silly, laughable mistakes.

        • Columnist

          March 29th 2018 @ 8:23am
          Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

          Yes people really don’t like hypocrisy Rats. That’s what did Barnaby in, not the act itself.
          It like the karma bus doubles in size and everyone clambers to get on, keen to teach the transgressor a lesson.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 2:35pm
          Brendon said | March 29th 2018 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

          I’m fine with English or New Zealand cricket fans rubbing their hands with glee over this. But the reaction from within Australia has been the biggest display of mass stupidity I’ve seen over a small matter. Nor should what fans in other countries think determine CA’s punishments.

          Australian sporting “fans” are the most cancerous fans in the world. Nothing we love more than attacking and destroying our own.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 3:15pm
            Captain Sensible said | March 29th 2018 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

            You approve of cheats then ??

            • March 30th 2018 @ 2:13am
              Johnno said | March 30th 2018 @ 2:13am | ! Report

              Do drink drivers get hauled throuhg the oz tabloid bogan media? Um no just a fine, they don’t lose there job or get suspended from work. Oh that’s right joe average the cabbie is not a role model or held in such high esteem coz he can’t play cricket…

      • March 29th 2018 @ 1:25pm
        Peter said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

        This is what you miss in a lot of social media. It’s all so black and white.

    • March 29th 2018 @ 7:16am
      LuckyEddie said | March 29th 2018 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Apart from the sad cheating incident the other feature of this has been the disgusting media blowing this up day after day. Two of the three made a really stupid mistake and have been penalised for it. For the sake of their mental health and their families there does come a time to drop it. WE get the ,message, they get the message and the kiddies get the message.

      We have politicians in Vic found to have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars, go and harrass those lying cheats.

      Cricket players at the end of the day are playing a game but politicians are making legislation that can have serious long term affects.

      • Columnist

        March 29th 2018 @ 10:10am
        Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        Must say Eddie, the difference in the media and public reaction to cheating in respect of sportspeople tampering with a ball and cheating to help win an election, siphoning public money to do, so is very instructive about Australian society.

        Quite astounding really.

        • Roar Guru

          March 29th 2018 @ 10:33am
          Rabbitz said | March 29th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          For me the difference is that no-one expects any less from a politician, they are already held in such low-esteem.

          Conversely, the Australian Cricket team were held in quite high-esteem. Thus the reactions are quite different.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 11:56am
            Jacko said | March 29th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            Rabbitz if you held the Aus cricket team in such high esteem that is your misjudgement….no one elses…..The Aus cricket team has not been saints for a very long time ….but you know that you just want to be outraged

            • March 29th 2018 @ 12:18pm
              Perthstayer said | March 29th 2018 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

              Jacko – You strike the right note but it is counter to your argument. They have not been saints but have suggested otherwise, thereby contriving to fool the public.

              Many Roarers point to precedent of other offenders. That is a misjudgment. The ball tampering is actually the lesser of the two evils for this case’s court of public opinion..

              Attempting to bring innocent people down with him (“leadership group”) was beyond the pale.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 1:26pm
            LuckyEddie said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

            Maybe it’s about time the Australian public did expect more from their politicians. Then again politicians happily feed the sports coffers knowing that the average punter will be more concerned with ball tampering and their team than out and out corruption.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 12:09pm
          I ate pies said | March 29th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          Let’s face it, that was let go because it was the Labor party and most members of our media are card-carrying unionists.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 1:28pm
            LuckyEddie said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

            Got it in one. If it had been Bernardi or Joyce or Abbot the medias reaction, especially the grossly biased ABC, would have been totally different. Then again the media tamper with the truth everyday so it would be hard to expect much from that lot.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 3:24pm
            Tom M said | March 29th 2018 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

            Absolutely IAP. Left wing politicians can do no wrong in the eyes of the media.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 1:09pm
          Geoffwho said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

          I don’t think the reaction of the public to politicians and cricketers where that different. Barnaby Joyce held himself up, and put others down, on moral standards and then turned out to be a hypocrite and paid the price with losing his job. Steve Smith, David Warner and Cricket Australia held themselves up as the hard playing but righteous guardians of cricket. “Play to the line but we don’t cross it” crap. So when exposed as hypocrites, people piled on and they lost their jobs. Daniel Andres never said he wasn’t a cheat, so more fool us….

        • March 29th 2018 @ 1:22pm
          LuckyEddie said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

          A sad reality.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 9:01pm
          Doc79 said | March 29th 2018 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

          I am dumbstruck. I really didn’t fathom the level of naiivete, double standards, feigned outrage and hypocrisy. This event has crystallized and further entrenched my lowly view of fellow citizens.

    • March 29th 2018 @ 7:17am
      vistro said | March 29th 2018 @ 7:17am | ! Report

      The 3 Aussies sent home:



      Sony bill has done it again

      • Columnist

        March 29th 2018 @ 7:53am
        Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        I feel kind of dirty laughing at that vistro…

        • Roar Guru

          March 29th 2018 @ 8:20am
          Wal said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

          I am extremely disappointed in myself for having a giggle too.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 10:55am
            WQ said | March 29th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

            And me

      • Roar Guru

        March 29th 2018 @ 9:12am
        Corne Van Vuuren said | March 29th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Best you don’t tell Quinton de Kock

    • Roar Guru

      March 29th 2018 @ 7:20am
      Chris Kettlewell said | March 29th 2018 @ 7:20am | ! Report

      It certainly is hard to not look at this as over the top hysteria that’s resulted in ridiculously harsh punishments. I think there definitely needs to be a culture change in the Australian Cricket Team, and it would have been good for CA to dole out some sorts of punishments beyond that which the ICC handed out, but 12 month bans from all international AND domestic cricket seems way over the top.

      It will be curious to see if CA basically welcome him back to the test team as soon as his suspension is served. Shane Warne served a 12 month drug ban and I’m pretty sure he pretty much played the first available international match after that happened. Smith is certainly of the quality player that you’d look at rushing back like that in normal circumstances. But one has to wonder if CA would more likely say “he’s then got to earn his way back through domestic cricket” in which case they would really be making it a more significant ban even than the 12 months they say it is.

      Then in monetary terms it costs Smith and Warner millions. Both lose $2.4m instantly on the tearing up of their IPL contracts. I imagine they instantly lose their CA contracts also, which would also be 7 figures for both, and these are likely to not all instantly go back to previous levels the moment the 12 month suspension ends.

      I’m all for holding our players to higher standards, and looking to clean things up in the team overall. But these sanctions just seem way over the top considering the worst anyone has ever got for ball tampering prior to this has been a 2 match suspension.

      • Roar Guru

        March 29th 2018 @ 7:34am
        Red Kev said | March 29th 2018 @ 7:34am | ! Report

        This is why you read the Code of Conduct before you sign it. I am sure most people have had to sign them for their various jobs and sports – read them, the consequences are real.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 7:56am
          spruce moose said | March 29th 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report


          No one pays someone $2m a year without some very, very serious strings attached.

          Smith is blessed with talent beyond compare. He’ll come straight back.

          This will be a hard year, but he’ll in time understand why this happened and realise he’s got 6-7 years of cricket left in him where he can rebuild his image and legacy.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 11:58am
          Jacko said | March 29th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

          But their conducd has been way below the code for years…why get all huff and puff now?

          • Roar Guru

            March 29th 2018 @ 12:10pm
            Red Kev said | March 29th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

            Says you – cite examples.

            I don’t personally like sledging. CA clearly deem it acceptable.
            Warner’s outburst in the stairwell with de Kock was contrary to the Code of Conduct, however CA were happy that the ICC sanctions were sufficient and met the level of punishment they determined was appropriate under the Code of Conduct.
            This incident is not.

            What you are deliberately overlooking is that the main charges on the sheet are around the cover-up.
            Your argument that this has been going on for years doesn’t stand up – there are no examples or charges of ball-tampering. This is the first time and therefore the precedent.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 8:34pm
            Barry Richards said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

            you would have been cheering them on though during their victories -amazing all these arm chair critics

      • Roar Guru

        March 29th 2018 @ 7:45am
        Rabbitz said | March 29th 2018 @ 7:45am | ! Report

        “But these sanctions just seem way over the top considering the worst anyone has ever got for ball tampering prior to this has been a 2 match suspension.”

        How many of those two match suspensions resulted from using sandpaper on the ball? Using sandpaper is light years away from mints or vaseline.

        I think that given the overall state of this team that the suspensions are fair.

        Maybe the bubble of entitlement and hubris has been pricked.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 2:37pm
          James P said | March 29th 2018 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

          In that mints and vaseline actually do something?

      • Columnist

        March 29th 2018 @ 8:04am
        Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:04am | ! Report

        Hi Chris

        One thing that has very strongly come out of this episode is that the majority of Australians don’t care about precedents set by the ICC or other countries.

        What we’ve seen is a very strong sense of national identity emerge, where the majority seems to be, ‘this is an affront to Australian values, let us determine our own punishment on that basis.’

        • March 29th 2018 @ 8:28am
          Jameswm said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:28am | ! Report

          I think what CA have done will change how other countries deal with it. They’re setting new standards.

          And nice article Geoff. Sums up my sentiments pretty well.

          • Columnist

            March 29th 2018 @ 8:59am
            Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

            Cheers James. And I agree that CA’s actions will have a flow-on effect to other nations and hopefully the ICC as well.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 12:23pm
            Perthstayer said | March 29th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

            James – Great comment

          • Roar Guru

            March 29th 2018 @ 12:39pm
            Chop said | March 29th 2018 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

            James, what makes you think the ECB or BCCI would give a toss how Australia deals with it’s players?

            The penalties are ridiculously excessive and are in reaction to all the butthurt of the hysterical and hypercritical keyboard warriors near and far all taking their turns to sink the boot in.

            I for one hope that Smith, Warner and Bancroft give a massive FU to Cricket Australia and go make a great living.

            I’m worried about Steve Smith’s mental state to be honest, he looks like this has really drained him mentally.

            I was in complete agreement with Smith and especially Warner being removed from the leadership group and neither should ever captain Australia again

            • March 29th 2018 @ 1:15pm
              Kangajets said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:15pm | ! Report


              Worried about Smith’s mental state

              Like anybody who goes thru a crisis or demotion , smith can access mental health services.

              I agree with the penalties , I hope it brings a culture change to all Australian sports players tbh .

              I do hope they make a comeback in 12 months , and continue their careers . People with forgive , if they act with dignity from now on .

          • March 29th 2018 @ 1:24pm
            jameswm said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

            Because the ECB or BCCI will look ridiculously soft if they don’t crack down hard on similar incidents. They won’t want to do nothing and be seen to be sanctioning cheating, after we crack down so hard. They would be allowing us to take some serious moral high ground.

            In addition, I actually think this sanction will result in sides stopping whatever underhand methods they were using. They will be petrified of what happens if they are caught, and there’s a good chance they’ll be caught. .

          • March 29th 2018 @ 8:39pm
            Barry Richards said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

            Yeh sure – Your living in fantasy land I suggest- Tendulkar was charged with ball tampering – imagine if the Indian cricket board tried to suspend him for 12 months – would never have been allowed

        • Roar Guru

          March 29th 2018 @ 2:06pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | March 29th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

          I get the idea of not caring about what other countries do, that’s fine. But it does feel a bit like changing potential penalties after the fact. And I have no issue with CA applying their own sanctions on top of the ICC even if no other board ever would. But I still think it’s over the top. I can certainly understand that while the three would have known what they were doing was wrong, never in their wildest imaginations would they have believed it would garner this sort of reaction and penalty. It’s just so ridiculously far above anything else ever given for a remotely comparable offence.

          Especially the fact that the ban extends to domestic cricket also. Maybe give them 6 months domestic ban, which wipes them out of this years IPL and costs them massively, but then gives them the chance to start trying to rebuild in domestic cricket next season.

          • Columnist

            March 29th 2018 @ 2:15pm
            Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

            That sounds pretty reasonable to me Chris.

            On the other hand it’s common for suspensions or bans to apply to all formal aspects of the sport for the period of the ban.

            • Roar Guru

              March 29th 2018 @ 4:11pm
              Chris Kettlewell said | March 29th 2018 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

              Yes, but this is about the only long term ban like this that I’ve heard of that isn’t for performance enhancing drugs or match fixing (and most true match fixing cases are also criminal cases, so they’ll be serving prison terms also!)

              Ben Stokes was suspended from international cricket but allowed to play domestic. He’d likely have been playing County cricket if it was during the English season, but it wasn’t, and then they let him fly internationally to play it overseas.

              • Columnist

                March 29th 2018 @ 6:14pm
                Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

                Yes, there are exceptions and I agree that’s a better balance.

      • March 29th 2018 @ 8:07am
        BennO said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

        Sports lecturer on 7:30 reckons it will cost CA upwards of $250 million in the next broadcast deal. If that’s even half right, then the penalties are light.

        12 months seems a long time but only if you ignore how deeply ingrained in the national psyche and culture that the team sits. Which explains the reaction. Not to mention the position of captain. It’s the ONE thing we more or less all support. No code war or political spectrum affects it.

        • Roar Guru

          March 29th 2018 @ 8:15am
          Red Kev said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

          If I recall correctly CA was looking for a $1bn deal, I expect they wouldn’t have gotten that anyway, but now I think they’ll get less than $500M ($100M/yr).

          • March 29th 2018 @ 8:25am
            sheek said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

            BennO/Red Kev,

            No doubt everyone will blame Smith, Warner & Bancroft for the reduced revenue from the next media broadcast deal.

            However, if CA had not been so timid in its governance & more proactive in demanding the upholding of standards, we probably wouldn’t have got to this situation.

            According to Sun-Zhu’s wisest man analogy, he sees potential problems & makes changes before they ever become realised.

            CA will of course escape scrutiny, but they’re the real culprits, asleep at the wheel for too long.

            We all demanded penalties, but the penalties handed down are totally over the top.

            • March 29th 2018 @ 8:31am
              jamesb said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:31am | ! Report

              Great comment. CA had allowed the pay dispute to fester on for months and they haven’t been tough on player behaviour in the past.

              Australian cricket needs new leaders on and off the field. Which means, Lehmann and Sutherland should also go.

              • March 30th 2018 @ 5:49am
                Nigel said | March 30th 2018 @ 5:49am | ! Report

                And also Pat Howard

            • March 29th 2018 @ 8:41am
              BennO said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

              sheek, I agree that CA hold some culpability but the actions of the three amigos (can we use that now Quade, Kurtley and James are no longer together?), will have some effect. I see them as responsible for their own actions, regardless of CA’s lack of leadership, so they need to take their lumps fair and square.

              As for 12 months being over the top, I’m not sure. I can understand it based on how much stock we have always placed in the team and in particular the captain. There’s less humour than people realised in the adage that the captain of the Aussie team is more important job than the PM.

              And having said all that, I think they’re fantastic cricketers and I really hope they make S successful come back. Warner in particular. I’ll never forget his response to the death of Phil Hughes. I think he’s got the potential to be classier than people give him credit for, this incident aside.

              • March 29th 2018 @ 9:02am
                sheek said | March 29th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report


                There is simply no precedence for the penalties given to these guys.

                The rest of the world firstly laughs at us for not being as white as the driven snow as we thought we were.

                Now they laugh at us even more so for the absurd penalties we have given these guys.

                Yes, these guys are adults & they did the wrong thing. They deserved to be punished. But seriously, where’s the precedence for these over the top penalties?

                Tom Brady, the great NFL quarterback, was punished a measly four games or so for ball tampering, ie, deliberately deflating footballs.

                Smith & Warner get 12 months??? Go figure…..

              • March 29th 2018 @ 9:14am
                BennO said | March 29th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

                sheek, absolutely there’s no precedent. I agree but obviously this is a commercial decision by CA, as all things in sport are. All things in life, really.

                They’ve got to judge what is a punishment that will cost them the least money. Minimise damage to the brand of the national cricket team, to stem potential loss of sponsorship and broadcast dollars, and weigh that against the cost of not having the two best players in the team for a certain length of time.

                The precedents don’t matter here because of the stock we collectively place in that team and the way they play, in particular. They are only worth so much money if we have faith in the way they play and if we support them.

              • March 29th 2018 @ 3:46pm
                Tom M said | March 29th 2018 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

                Only someone who has no clue about the NFL would ever compare this to what Smith & Co have done. Please if you are going to reference another sport at least know a little about it.

          • Columnist

            March 29th 2018 @ 8:26am
            Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

            Yes the irony in the players agitating last year for an increase in pay on revenue share terms is acute.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 8:27am
            jamesb said | March 29th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

            That’s probably one of the reasons why CA banned Warner and Smith for 12 months. They had to be seen as been tough and they also had one eye on tv rights negotiations.

            If CA receive less tv money, then the elite players will receive less and more importantly grassroots will receive less.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 9:39am
          rock said | March 29th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          ‘Sports lecturer’ on a TV negotiation without knowing commercial details is akin to ‘foreign political expert’ being asked about a foreign leaders thoughts and motives – they have no idea.

          After all this is said and done the TV stations will look at the black and white numbers, and their decision will be mostly representative of that.

          For them to even consider losing $250m you’d have to start seeing sponsors walk, and after these punishments have been handed you won’t be seeing any CA sponsors tear up their contracts with CA – that is the main reason CA have taken this action, it’s not because of a ‘moral high ground’.

          • March 29th 2018 @ 9:47am
            BennO said | March 29th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

            That’s exactly the point of the lecturer you said has no idea.

            Considering weet bix and LG have pulled their personal sponsorships already, the potential is there. Of course CA is acting out of commercial interest. Who said otherwise? Certainly that was the argument of the fella with no idea on the tele last night.

            The moral outrage in all of this rests with the customers, the Australian public, everything the sponsors and CA are doing is commercially driven based on their read of the customers’ expectations.

            • March 29th 2018 @ 10:57am
              rock said | March 29th 2018 @ 10:57am | ! Report

              Weetbix & LG has pulled individual sponsorship, nothing on it’s corporate sponsorship and they won’t after this.

              CA were going to receive less for the rights then expected, this had already been widely reported, so one incident with CA acting over the top with punishment will not impact a TV right negotiation by a quarter of a billion dollars.

              • Roar Guru

                March 29th 2018 @ 11:27am
                Red Kev said | March 29th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

                Magellan just pulled their team sponsorship (naming rights for home test series) after one year of a three-year deal.

              • March 29th 2018 @ 12:47pm
                rock said | March 29th 2018 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

                As I said in that article, for them to be ok with the players actively verbally abuse other players on the field and try to abuse them off it, but pull the pin on this is a bit hypocritical.

              • Roar Guru

                March 29th 2018 @ 1:50pm
                Chris Kettlewell said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

                Have to agree Rock, it is pretty hypocritical that this one event see’s them pull the pin, especially when those involved in this have been dealt with 1000x more harshly by CA than anyone who’s ever committed a ball tampering offense in the past has been by their respective boards shows that this isn’t acceptable to them either.

          • Roar Guru

            March 29th 2018 @ 9:56am
            Red Kev said | March 29th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

            The Nine Network is being urged by bankers to end its long-time cricket coverage due to estimated $30-40 million yearly losses.

            Currently CA earns (approximately) $100M/yr from Channel 9 for the international rights and $20M/yr from Channel 10 for the BBL.

            Cricket Australia had been hoping for $1 billion cumulatively for the broadcast rights for the next five years. The expected ceiling according to market analysts was closer to $800 million.

            Within the last few weeks CA had told television networks to resubmit their bids as no first round offers were regarded as acceptable.

            The current debacle will absolutely affect the value of the deal. The BBL will still increase, but the value of the men’s international broadcast rights will go down, not up – especially since CA still wants to maintain the digital broadcast rights in-house.

            • March 29th 2018 @ 11:00am
              rock said | March 29th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

              As you said Kev, the value was already expected to be diminished, we’ve all seen this discussed ad nauseam prior to this.

              Do you seriously think that this incident, with the over the top punishments, will impact a TV deal by $250m?

              • Roar Guru

                March 29th 2018 @ 11:26am
                Red Kev said | March 29th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

                Ch9 currently pays $100M/yr and loses money for the rights to the men’s international team. I cannot see anyone paying that this time around.

                $250M is at the high end, but I can definitely see CA only getting $750M when they wanted $1B. It’s not lost money so much as lost potential money, but the impact is still real.

              • Columnist

                March 29th 2018 @ 11:28am
                Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

                Who knows what the total cost will be for CA rock.

                News now that major naming rights sponsor Magellan is pulling their relationship and $. Whether an overreaction or not, the impact to broadcast and sponsorship revenue is clearly profound.

              • March 29th 2018 @ 12:57pm
                rock said | March 29th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

                And I would agree that they were in no way going to get the $1B they wanted, but as you’ve alluded to the main reason for the likely drop in broadcast revenue was decided long before this issue.

                This issue on its own will have negligible effect on the actual total rights compared to the figure the rights were already being valued at by the networks.

                It’s definitely an overreaction (and a little bit hypocritical I believe with the teams actual culture known well before this) as I said above Geoff.

              • Roar Guru

                March 29th 2018 @ 1:53pm
                Chris Kettlewell said | March 29th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                But Kev, the suggestion is they were never likely to get near what they wanted anyway. No doubt they’ll try and blame all the shortfall on the actions of these three, but in reality it was going to be significantly less than they wanted regardless, and this may not necessarily impact it that much. But of course, that will be impossible to determine as nobody is going to come out and say “we were going to offer this amount, but after that, this is our max offer!”

              • March 29th 2018 @ 2:12pm
                BennO said | March 29th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

                Chris, the only way we may find that out is if someone leaks the first offers. I read somewhere on here that CA rejected all first round offers and asked for resubmissions. If this is going to have an effect, then it’ll be this way.

                The point is though, the broadcasting rights are only worth what the market is willing to pay and nothing more. You can bet that the broadcasters will be using this to drive the price down, they’ll use everything they can get. Why wouldn’t they? Up to a point it’s in their (and their shareholders’) interests to do so. If they do try to use it as leverage for a lower cost, then it’s had an impact.

                Ask yourself, if you were negotiating to buy the rights and something like this happened, would you try to use it to your advantage or carry on as though nothing happened?

              • Roar Guru

                March 29th 2018 @ 2:43pm
                Red Kev said | March 29th 2018 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

                Okay Chris, so they get $700M rather than $800M – maybe you think that’s nothing but I do call it significant. This scandal is absolutely a bargaining tool for the broadcasters.

              • Roar Guru

                March 29th 2018 @ 3:26pm
                Chop said | March 29th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

                Given that nine have just bought the tennis rights from 2020 it seems like they’ve taken the bankers advice.

                With all the tennis content, it’s hard to see how they keep the cricket as well as the tennis.

              • Roar Guru

                March 29th 2018 @ 4:19pm
                Chris Kettlewell said | March 29th 2018 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

                Red, I’m not saying it’s not significant, I’m saying it’s hard to really pin anything on this incident. They may get $700m when they really wanted $1b. But maybe $700m was the most they were ever going to get even if this all hadn’t happened. The point is we can’t know. We are never going to be in a situation to truly be able to say, “CA would have successfully got $900m if it wasn’t for this ball tampering issue”.

                So you say $250m is lost potential, but the evidence seems to be that even prior to all this, nobody was close to willing to pay what CA actually wanted. So it’s not really the lost potential.

                If, now, broadcasters say, “even our original offers are null and void now, we will offer you even less, and in the end CA have to give in and take less than what some of the original offers were, then you could point to a definite loss because of this.

      • March 29th 2018 @ 2:14pm
        Aiden said | March 29th 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

        Well considering this has already cost Cricket Australia $20 million with the loss of a major sponsor, not to mention they are right in the middle of renegotiating their TV rights, this whole incident has the potential to cost Cricket Australia 100s of millions of dollars.

        The punishment is not harsh enough in that context.

        • Columnist

          March 29th 2018 @ 6:17pm
          Geoff Parkes said | March 29th 2018 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

          Except Aiden, do you think all of the reaction by sponsors is about this incident in isolation, or the accumulation of many concerns that have built up over time?

          If it’s the latter, then in Bancroft’s case at least, he’s more like the man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      • March 29th 2018 @ 2:42pm
        Brendon said | March 29th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

        I can’t see Smith or Warner making the 2019 Ashes team. We should just hand back the Ashes how because of CA’s stupidity. I can see England winning by a big margin, bigger than 2013. I wonder how many of the outraged cricket “fans” are going to stick and around support a losing Australian team? Not many I bet.

        And this is the people CA caved in to.

        • March 29th 2018 @ 3:47pm
          Armchair Expert said | March 29th 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

          Warner’s test career is over, the word is his brash,domineering personality, especially since he was named vice captain, has pretty much made any future return untenable, as for Smith and Bancroft, they will only be selected for Australia if they make plenty of shield runs on return, so that pretty much precludes Smith from the 2019 Ashes tour.

          • Roar Guru

            March 29th 2018 @ 4:25pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | March 29th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

            I don’t know that Warner’s test career is necessarily over. He’s got 12 months to think about how he approached things, and if he comes back into domestic cricket behaving massively better but still scoring mountains of runs, he’s every chance to come back.

            As for Smith, I’d almost have to think that his case would be more like Shane Warne’s 12 month drug suspension where he was straight back into the national set up once it was concluded. He’s just that good that you can bring him straight back in. He won’t be captain, he’ll just be a player, but with a record like his, he’s surely the type of player you bring straight back into the set up the moment the ban is over. Not requiring him to effectively serve a 2 year international ban by forcing him to wait 18 months before he plays any first class cricket and then play a shield season and pile on the runs before he can earn his spot.

            If there is any sort of Australia A tour after the Australian season ends and before the Ashes tour starts, include him in that.

      • March 29th 2018 @ 3:49pm
        Linphoma said | March 29th 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        Which is all the more reason to clean up your act. If this sort of fantastic remuneration is what they have negotiated then they have to do the right things. Works with other sports too.

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