1. Who organised the press conferences for Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft to occur the second they hit the ground after a long flight, a brutal few days, and before they really even got the chance to hug someone who loves them? Was this done to maximise the chance that they would break down and show the “proper” level of contrition?
I’m not a fan of Smith, unlike apparently everyone else who feels the need to say how he’s a good guy who made a mistake, but even I don’t think he should have to face cameras and journalists in the airport lounge. Give the man 24 hours, that ball isn’t getting any more sanded.
2. Why was Warner exempted from these press conferences? It smacks of getting the guy who no one likes anyway (from Michael Vaughan to my mum) and making sure he looks worse in comparison to the other two. This needs a proper villain, and Warner makes a great one. Maybe he didn’t want to “front up”. Maybe he didn’t get a chance to.
And of course, Warner now is copping it for hugging his kids at the airport. You could almost get the idea that whatever he did, it would have been the wrong thing to do.
3. Why is this the Actual Worst? We’ve had ball-tampering before. We’ve had match fixing, off-field assaults, things which came perilously close to on-field assaults, severe injuries not being treated, severe mental illnesses never being addressed, women being harassed or outright assaulted, women who actually play cricket being treated as second-class citizens in the game, and what is essentially a cartel of three countries dictating terms to the rest of the world based on how much money they can make rather than how the game can grow.
So why is a bit of sticky tape or sandpaper or whatever uncomfortable object Cam Bancroft stuck down his jocks the thing which really damages cricket?
4. Following on from that: would the self-flagellation for damaging cricket, which belongs to all of us and is so much bigger than just the men who get paid to play it, have been there if they hadn’t been caught?
Smith, Warner, Bancroft, and whoever else was involved in the scheme decided that it was worth doing that to have a better chance of winning. And I really don’t think they would have been so desperately heartbroken for what they had done to the capital-G Game if they had gotten away with it.
5. Most importantly—What is Cricket Australia doing to support Smith, Bancroft, and Warner? Any culture change needs to start with not hanging these guys out to dry. They’ve been castigated, humiliated, and have lost a lot of their income and much of their purpose for the next months. Cricket Australia must not leave them to suffer this alone. Their doctors will be on the CA payroll. Their lives will have been incredibly tightly managed for most (if not all) of their adulthood. Cutting them loose at this point is cruel, and we don’t need any more genuine tragedy in cricket.
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