#cricket

The Jester’s Court hands down a verdict on the cheats

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It is a good job that Cricket Australia (CA) doesn’t conduct murder forensics. It would be fascinating to know how the investigations over ball tampering were conducted. The case would appear open and shut. Only three people knew according to CA. Job done. Inside 3 days. All facts have been collected and harsher punishments will be dealt later on. Does this seem like a thorough investigation for the biggest scandal in Australian cricket? Not for a minute.

Was each team member, coaching staff and support crew separately asked and interrogated several times, not only  in front of a panel, but each individual investigator in order to make sure the stories corroborated with post the briefings over several days and weeks? Were follow up meetings conducted in consecutive days to make sure the stories didn’t change? Was evidence of team WhatsApp chats voluntarily offered to exonerate players? By the sounds of it, this looks like a severe containment exercise within a private club. Seemingly no independent investigation and an expedited trial to limit damage.

The tweet from Cricket Australia telling us that the CEO reports Steve Smith is distraught speaks volumes. Apart from being the least valuable information possible, it almost wants fans to feel sympathy for his remorse. It is a joke. A man earning millions a year bet his career on allowing his team to cheat. Whether Warner pressured him and he was too weak to stop him is no excuse. Anyone with half a brain would know better. Still it shows the true light of the investigation – Steve is upset…don’t go too hard on him because he is a nice guy, no really….

The recent reports that staff within the CA can’t stand ring leader David Warner for his “bullsh1t” paint a picture of ridiculously poor ethics throughout the organisation’s senior  management. If Warner has gone rogue, then it is worth investigating every claim he makes no matter how far fetched to get to the truth. Sadly it seems that the investigation wanted to sandpaper a scripted outcome to ensure the reverse swing on the trial whizzes straight by the fans so things can get back to normal ASAP. The jig is up. Cricket Australia will likely find sponsorship from the local butchers going forward because it will be hard for mainstream corporates to back such a sham. The future of cricket is far bleaker than we think.

Australian Cricket Family?

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Just how stupid does the CEO James Sutherland take fans for? Indeed if there are any left. If this is crisis management, Cricket Australia will fold under the weight of its own incompetence. What has the ‘head of integrity been doing for small these years? The shame this incident has brought upon a nation cannot be trivialized. Moreover the use of a logo with “Australian Cricket Family” is some sort of politically correct “we’re all in this together” appeal. No, we aren’t. You’re in this by yourselves.The CEO can’t deflect responsibility for something that was under his control. The culture that has led to this farce can’t be put down to being blindsided or aloof. Ball tampering seems to have occurred prior to the South African test if the video footage of the recent Ashes series in Australia is any guide. India also made similar claims. It isn’t hard to believe this cheating hasn’t been institutionalized for some time.

Heads must roll. Restoring faith? That all depends how the CEO deals with this. Leniency will be punished severely by fans, yet its odds on that management will believe that memories are short and Smith’s skills are a greater asset than the mugs that go the games and  pay his wages. To that end it is bang in line with Cricket Australia’s internal governance code – Lacking Board Wisdom (LBW).

Never, never give up

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Probably one of the best matches in junior cricket.  Australia vs England in the U-19 ICC Cricket World Cup quarter final. When I woke up Australia was 7-88 and looking totally lost at sea. 128 looked a pretty easy target given the Aussie batsmen threw so many wickets away.

The Poms started the run chase well, reaching 50 in short order. It looked like a formality that they were going through to the semi finals. Then a ginger haired leg spinner named Lloyd Pope drew first blood. The next batsmen was hyped by the commentators on his form through the tournament. Out first ball. The fear was in the faces of the English squad in the stands. Then Pope took another in the next over. And another. All of a sudden the tide has turned. The English were 8-88 before they knew it.

From the offset the English sort of convinced themselves that they couldn’t lose to such a tiny run chase. However Pope totally changed the setting. Helped by some excellent catching and fielding it was so obvious the Poms were hoping his spell would end to finish the slaughter. In his final over Pope rolled the rest with two balls to spare. 8-35.

Deserved man of the match. A fantastic lesson in salvaging a seemingly hopeless situation. Highlights here. Never never give up.

When you’ve seen something truly masterful

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What a fantastic innings by Mitchell Marsh. Recalled into the side after an 8 month break and he has even outplayed his captain, Steve Smith. While Smith has played a brilliant innings so far, Marsh has scored more boundaries and his straight drives have just flat demoralized the English bowlers. Enjoy. It is worth signing up to watch the video. Who said cricket was boring? Perhaps the trophy cabinet of Australian sports might start to fill up again.