Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Editorial: Aussies, spare us the moral outrage

When we say something is just not cricket, we mean that it is contrary to generally accepted standards of fairness and rectitude. What happened at Newlands last week, then, was not only an abomination to cricket but also an affront to the sense of fairness with which cricket is associated.

So it is understandable when the Australian public responds with such furore to their team’s captain and at least two others conspiring to cheat. It is similarly understandable that people would feel disillusioned by cricketers and administrators alike. After all, trust in politicians and political parties is at record lows. Trust in business is similarly low. But it is sport — and, one could argue, cricket especially — that has somehow shrugged off multiple match-fixing controversies to continue to enjoy the trust of the public.

And yet knowing that that trust has been eroded, the administrators of Australian cricket continue to inspire disbelief.

We are told that as the coach, Darren Lehmann, had no prior knowledge of his players’ plan to tamper with the ball. So what, then, is the point of a coach if the team leaders make such significant decisions without him? And how would David Warner and Steve Smith hatch such a plan without at least some of the bowlers knowing what was going on? It is the bowlers, after all, who would have intimate knowledge of the condition of the ball.

It appears these questions will only ever elicit obfuscation.

Let’s not fool ourselves: it is not as if this is the team’s first transgression. If the Australian public is to respond with such moral conviction to an admission of guilt, then it must also be asked why this level of outrage has never before been witnessed in the sport.

There’s the “Hashim Amla terrorist” that was scrawled on a fence near the Proteas’ dugout at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart in November 2016. At the time, Cricket Australia said a man suspected of committing the act had been banned from attending any official match in Australia for three years. The Aussie authorities insisted that “antisocial” behaviour would not be tolerated.

Then there was the time Lehmann, then still a player with the national team, walked into the Australian dressing room and shouted out “black c***s” after being dismissed in a game against Sri Lanka.

These are just two incidents in Australian cricket that should have aroused deep moral and philosophical examination Down Under, but never were.

The notion that cheating at cricket is somehow at odds with what Australia stands for is, frankly, laughable. As someone said on Twitter: “Glorious nation of people who lock refugees up indefinitely and also cheat at cricket.”

Yes, we are petty enough to be gleeful as Australians squirm but this scandal has revealed a great deal more. This, after all, is the nation whose detaining of refugees on two islands has led to such despair and hopelessness that children as young as 10 are attempting suicide.

So, from what we can see from here in South Africa, this cricket cheating business is exactly what Australia stands for. 

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

More top stories

US fashion contaminates Africa’s water

Untreated effluent from textile factories in in Lesotho, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Madagascar pours into rivers, contaminating the water

Deep seabed mining a threat to Africa’s coral reefs

The deep oceans are a fragile final frontier, largely unknown and untouched but mining companies and governments — other than those in Africa — are eying its mineral riches

Komodo dragon faces extinction

The world’s largest monitor lizard has moved up the red list for threatened species, with fewer than 4 000 of the species left

DA says ANC’s implosion has thrown local government elections wide...

The DA launched its 37-page manifesto on a virtual platform under the banner “The DA gets things done”.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×