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Cricket is this country’s national sport, no doubt. In the winter you either play NRL or AFL, but everybody plays cricket come off-season time.
At the moment cricket in this country is facing the biggest scandal since the infamous Trevor Chappell underarm bowling incident, which I would like to remind everybody was a legal move. In an article in the Courier Mail last month Chappell stated that he was happy yet unhappy that he was no longer the most hated man in Australian cricket and his incident was back in 1981. He never really recovered from it.
This recent scandal with Steve Smith, Davod Warner and Cameron Bancroft was an example of cheating that will tarnish the reputation of Cricket Australia for quite a while yet. The public may move on, but international cricketing bodies will not forget so easily.
Cricket Australia will be watched like a hawk for at least a couple of seasons until they prove that this was a one-off incident. We all hope that it will be.
Smith and Warner both received 12-month bans and lost many sponsorship deals, while Bancroft copped a nine-month suspension. Although England’s Surrey coach, Michael Di Venuto, who previously worked with the Australian team, has confirmed his intent to obtain services of Smith and Warner, a lot of work needs to be done at home.
With the resignation of Darren Lehmann as Australia cricket coach, the hunt is on for a replacement. The contenders are Justin Langer, Jason Gillespie, Ricky Pointing and Brad Haddin. While rumours and social media suggest that Langer is the frontrunner for the job, it might not work out that way.
Even once a new coach is found and Australia starts to resume business as usual, the question has to be asked: how long is it going to take to recover from the ball-tampering scandal? They say that a reputation takes a lifetime to build and an instant to destroy; well, Australian cricket has certainly not done their reputation any favours.
The Super League war – not a scandal, but it certainly did not do the game any favours – back in the 1990s for rugby league was over 20 years ago and the game still has not recovered. The aftermath left a bitter taste in many mouths, with lots of long-term friends amongst fans and players going their separate ways, and to this day they remain unreconciled.
It would be terrible to see our national game go down the same path as rugby league.
I have no quick fixes for this nor can I wave a magic wand and make it like it never happened, but I ask this question of the public: will Cricket Australia ever recover from the ball tampering scandal, and if so, how long will it take?