In the middle of an immersive Indian Premier League (IPL), as Australia try to bury year old humiliation, from their own quarters finally come more vociferous concerns that have been voiced all year round by cricket fraternities across the globe.
There was a rather rushed feeling to the manner in which Cricket Australia handled the subject matter of the sandpaper-gate in the immediate aftermath of the revelations in the course of the Cape Town Test. While some called the yearlong bans on Steven Smith and David Warner harsh, there was an even greater worry that the problem had been hushed away too quickly without being adequately dealt with.
What was of greater consternation then and is now being expressed by former Australian legends including Mark Taylor, Ian Healy and the outspoken Ian Chappell is that although Smith had claimed at the time that this was the only time when he suffered a lapse in judgement as a captain and the only ever time that such malpractice had been committed, there seemed reasonable doubt that this was done in the know-how of more than the people punished and also, plausible that this was only the one time they were caught in the act and that perhaps it had been going on for some time.
The wrath on the Australian cricket team has been relentless for much of the year from the rest of the cricket world. However, for their own to speak out in such blatant fashion, albeit a year after the closed investigation that looked into the one match, tells that as much Cricket Australia and the Australian cricket team would like to bury the fiasco and move forward, there are skeletons in the closet that are refusing to go away.
At a time when there is such harsh debate about an incident of ‘mankad’ing and the subsequent vilification of Ravichandran Ashwin, it seems quite extraordinary that the subject of ball tampering, as relevant as the damaging spot fixing that brought the dark of the game to light in the IPL should be allowed to go almost unquestioned, not debated, not even raised as a matter of public awareness. This subjective handling of issues that bring the integrity of the game into disrepute is probably the biggest worrisome matter of the entire scenario.
The fact that has been raised by some esteemed voices within the sport should at least confirm that this issue cannot simply be buried to rear its ugly head at an inopportune time.