Lungani Zama

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS&VIEWS -

THE sum­mer was long and wind­ing in South Africa, and there were some mas­sive ca­su­al­ties along the way.

The big­gest – we were led to be­lieve – was the gloss that coats Aus­tralian cricket. After the de­ba­cle of Cape Town, the cricket world thought that would be the be­gin­ning of a long win­ter of con­tem­pla­tion.

We braced our­selves for sweep­ing changes, in cul­ture, per­son­nel and ap­proach.

Within days of those that fol­lowed Messrs Smith, Ban­croft and Warner back home, the an­tic­i­pated truth about the ac­tual hap­pen­ings in that dress­ing-room failed to sur­face.

In­stead, the rogue that David Warner was ex­pected to be, took the fifth amend­ment, and re­solved to serve his time on the side­lines. He didn’t, as we ex­pected, go pub­lic with his nam­ing and sham­ing.

He didn’t bring the Baggy Green house down, but rather towed the line.

Soon after, Moises Hen­riques said what Warner has done was ‘self­less’, be­cause he would get no di­rect ben­e­fit from the ball­tam­per­ing.

It was a heck of a stance to take, but Warner’s buddy bat­ted on for him, not­ing that Warner had been the leader of ne­go­ti­a­tions for bet­ter cen­tral con­tracts for the play­ers. Self­less.

Warner had bore the brunt of crit­i­cism around the play­ers’ hard line, be­cause he was that kind of in­di­vid­ual.

At his core, he was a team man, we were re­minded. The same guy whose team wanted him kicked out of the team ho­tel in Cape Town? Price­less.

This past week, we fi­nally re­alised the ac­tual team that Warner plays for. It’s Cricket Aus­tralia, and it is cap­tained not by Tim Paine, but by James Suther­land.

This week, that team se­cured a new broad­cast deal that puts ev­ery­thing in per­spec­tive. Bil­lions of rands, putting hours of cricket into Aus­tralian homes.

That deal might not have sur­vived a rev­e­la­tion of the en­tire Aussie men’s team be­ing in­volved in a cheat­ing scan­dal.

If the jewel in their crick­et­ing crown was tainted, that deal was dead in the wa­ter. Far more lives would have been af­fected.

We will never know what re­ally hap­pened in Cape Town – but the very quick res­o­lu­tion of the is­sue said ev­ery­thing we needed to know.

A few bad ap­ples can be tol­er­ated, but a rot­ten or­chard would have soured even the long­est stand­ing re­la­tions with Cricket Aus­tralia. The Aus­tralian pub­lic couldn’t sup­port a sys­tem rot­ten to the core.

The an­nounce­ment of the new TV deal adds fire to the the­ory that Warner and com­pany had to be dealt with swiftly, be­fore pen was put to lu­cra­tive pa­per. A stance has to be taken – a line drawn, if you will.

We may never know if any bowlers or coaches were in­volved in the ball­tam­per­ing scan­dal.

Aus­tralia’s real lead­er­ship group took a de­ci­sion to come down hard on the afore­men­tioned three, and that was that.

Maybe Warner and com­pany were self­less after all ...

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