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Ball tampering scandal

The ball tampering scandal has been well covered here and elsewhere. I will therefore only add one point. The common denominator in match-fixing and now ball-tampering  is to get a young, malleable patsy to do it.

Cameron Bancroft, who had a poor Ashes, was both young and expendable.

Herschell Gibbs, implicated in 2001 for match fixing – he was offered £15,000 by Hansie Cronje for a low innings but still made 74 -was the same age (25) and Mohammed Amir, another fixer, just 18.

It would seem the  youngest and most vulnerable in the dressing room is chosen to cheat. A sporting dressing room is a harsh place where the normal protection against bullying does not exist. The captain is the interface between management and the team.

You do not question his authority and it takes bigger young men than these cited to stand up to him.

It seems likely that coach Darren Lehmann must have been complicit but will go unpunished.

It’s harder to think of a greater abuse of authority and for this reason alone the sentences so far seem too lenient.

We must not get too ‘holier than thou’ as in Lords in 1994 Mike Atherton was fined for applying dust from his pocket to the ball  in a Test against the South Africans and fined £2,000 by match referee Peter Burge.

A well-known bowler of around that era asked for some lip salve.

A gofer was despatched and, before his errand, asked the cricketer what brand to receive the reply “the ball won’t care“.

Rather like in cycling, it appears to be endemic but this scandal is worse as it was all planned as a winning strategy in advance and we could see the duplicity on camera.

I remember being at the 1994 Lords Test and not appreciating the incident at the time.

One point for the ‘watch it on tv’ supporters.

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts