#shanewarne

Wider World created by Warner

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To be honest my elder brother sounded more sincere when he apologized in front of my parents after smashing my orthodontic brace-filled mouth 35 years ago. Dave Warner’s media appearance showed next to no contrition. Sure there were tears. References to the stress on his family and how he’d be lost without them. Indeed, had he considered his family before deciding to cheat then he’d never have to run a rearguard action to protect them. That doesn’t condone the actions of social media thuggery on family members but there was absolutely no surprise in the fast pace bouncers peppered at him from the press gallery, all of which he dodged with the same insincerity for someone whom apparently “only ever wanted to bring glory to my country!” Strange way of showing it.

At least in Steve Smith’s case he projected absolute authenticity in his admission of failure. Bancroft was just a startled bunny in the headlights. Warner seemed to be begging for forgiveness in that at some point might allow resumption to expand his property empire in Maroubra than pleading to restore the lost glory back into the ‘game.’

Warner typifies the ‘win at all costs’ mentality cultivated from the top of Cricket Australia. It isn’t just his two teammates that have worn this failure of leadership. Magellan has already pulled $20m in sponsorship, countless others will follow and the upper hand in negotiations over broadcast rights has all but vanished. That means that Cricket Australia will have $100s of millions less in the kitty to pay players, develop kids at tender ages to sustain the game in the future and draw crowds. Less for facilities, less for promotion, less for match bonuses. Less, less, less. Cricket Australia needs a total overhaul too.

Cricket to Aussies is like Rugby Union to Kiwis. It is on another level to other sports. Our hall of fame includes the likes of Bradman, Spofforth, Trumper, Woodful, McCabe, Morris, Simpson, Border, Waugh, Ponting, Taylor, McGrath, Warne…the list goes on. Were Buck Shelford, Sean Fitzpatrick, Jonah Lomu or Richie McCaw found guilty of bringing the All Blacks side into disrepute through blatant tampering they’d be publicly hung, drawn and quartered with their heads tossed into the mud pools of Rotarua. The New Zealand media would not be calling on people to give any cheater a ‘fair go.’ That is the irony. Most of these elite sportsmen have had way more than a fair go but it wasn’t enough. Otherwise there was no reason to cheat.

Some in the Aussie media now cry out for leniency. They made a mistake, apologized…all lessons learnt. Then again it isn’t any surprise that the media is also short on ethics much of the time. Go back to bed like it was just a bad dream. Talk about being ‘role models’ for kids?!? Most Aussie fans won’t view it that way. Talks of two years in the penalty box and then Steve Smith can resume the captaincy shows how shallow the thinking is. While he may have shown himself to be a sincere individual he most certainly proved he has no place leading the team ever again. He should refuse to take it on if he ever plays again.

One has to question whether the bowlers knew something was up. It is not a question of being complicit in the crime rather a fast bowler spends 6 minutes every over staring at the ball in his walk back to his mark, polishing one side on his trousers, checking the condition of the rough side to consider what type of delivery to bowl. Every. Single. Ball. A bowler usually has 5 to 6 overs a spell so at least half an hour to study the curious round object in his hands. Bat strikes leave particular types of marks as does the pitch and fence. So a sandpaper mark should look rather ‘manufactured.’ Certainly surprising that this would go unnoticed.

In any event, this is not the last we’ve heard form this fall out. Warner should never be able to play for Australia again. He neither represents the country, takes pride in the honour of donning a ‘baggy green’ and most certainly has a very weird way of bringing glory to his country. The only one that matters for Warner is himself.

Mason Crane – perhaps the brightest spot in a bleak Ashes tour

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CM was fortunate enough to hear the tale of cricket player Mason Crane via his parents Nick and Alison at the 5th Ashes Test in Sydney where Mason played his first ever game for England.

His parents said they had never been a cricket family but their only son Mason fell in love with the game in the 2005 Ashes series. At only 8yo he idolized Australian legendary leg spinner Shane Warne. They said he used to watch DVDs of Warne’s bowling action every morning while eating breakfast and told them “I’m going to play for England”. He stayed focused on his career until he got his chance this weekend.

On Day 3 when he got to bowl a proper spell his parents were understandably nervous. CM said that would vanish once he took a wicket. Indeed test cricket is as much a mental game as it is physical and given on Day 4 he bowled in 40 degree heat the test was even more severe.

As emotions go, he got the wicket of Khawaja for 171. While he ended up with figures of 1-193 from almost 50 overs, Mason revealed proper grit, something lacking in many of his teammates this series

After meeting with Nick and Alison today the relief on their faces was self-evident. Truly proud parents. CM said for them to enjoy the anonymity for now because before they know it the media will be calling for his story. There can be no doubt that he will be a player the English side would be stupid to ignore for a future as a full-time spin bowler.

The press is saying the English team management will do a huge post mortem on the disastrous 4-0 drubbing by the Aussies. While negatives are everywhere, Mason was probably the only real “positive takeaway.”

One can never find the answer by merely looking at the problems but focusing on the solutions. Mason Crane looks to be that solution in years to come. Good teams unite in adversity. Finger pointing and wailing over who is to blame doesn’t help. Acknowledging failure and embracing sensible strategy will win out every time.

Best of luck Mason!!