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 ...