The cricketing world went into a frenzy as soon as Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft admitted that they tried to tamper with the ball during the third test between Australia and South Africa.
Many ex cricketers expressed shock and disbelief and criticized the behavior of the three players.
While the issue of ball tampering has plagued the world of cricket for the longest time, there are several other reasons for the outburst of cricket fans and pundits in this case.
In the months prior to the tampering scandal, there were a lot of instances where the Australian players stressed upon playing the game with fairness.
This talk of high moral ground meant that Steve Smith’s men had to face a severe backlash from the fans, ex-cricketers and the media when the news of the incident broke.
The fact that this was a premeditated attempt to cheat made the matters even worse for the Australian cricket team.
What followed next?
Eventually, the Australian cricket board handed strong punishments to all three cricketers. Both Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned for 12 months, while Cameron Bancroft has received a ban of 9 months.
Additionally, both Smith and Bancroft would have to wait for a year after they return before they can be considered for any kind of leadership role.
As far as David Warner is concerned this incident might result in the end of his professional career.
The Australian cricket board has given these punishments to ensure that such conduct is avoided in the future and the spirit of the game is upheld.
A harsh reaction
Despite the fact that three cricketers were on the receiving end of the criticism, there are people who believe that the reaction and the punishments given are very harsh.
Prominent Ex cricketers like Shane Warne have questioned the severity of the punishments. South African captain Faf du Plessis and former England captain Michael Vaughan also feel that a one year ban was too harsh on Steve Smith.
One cannot question the fact that the trio made a big mistake however, the issue has surely been blown out of proportion.
All teams have in the past been accused of ball tampering in order to turn the match in their favor. Be it England, South Africa, India or Pakistan. However, none of the cricketers have had to face such backlash from the fans. One has to truly feel for Steve Smith who was in the prime of his career. Seeing the Australian captain breaking down during the press conference was disheartening. The same can be said in the case of Cameron Bancroft and David Warner.
It is worth mentioning that Steve Smith and David Warner will face heavy financial losses because of the ban. The duo will be unable to participate in the IPL and will miss a total of 48 international games. Moreover, all three players will also have to overcome the mental trauma in order to regain their spot in the national side. While all three crickets did make an error of judgment, they didn’t deserve to be bullied at the airports by the media. Cricket Australia had to set a precedent to ensure that something like this never happens but the bans handed to the players were too harsh, considering what they actually did.
With the game of cricket becoming increasingly favorable for the batsmen, the captains are often forced to take matters into their own hands. The ball tampering incident reflects a far bigger challenge faced by test cricket. The ICC has already reduced the impact of fast bowling with pitches that are tailor-made for the batsmen.
Steve Smith and David Warner were two of the most important members of the Australian cricket team. Similarly, Cameron Bancroft was an emerging talent. The Australian team is likely to suffer due to their absence. Will the three players be able to make a comeback and put this incident behind them? Only time will tell.