What is ball manipulation in cricket

A nation feels betrayed : All of Australia despises its cricket team

Cricket is a sport for gentlemen. At least that is the generally accepted theory. In Australia, after all a cricket world power, the fans are no longer so sure about this. The reason is a manipulation attempt by three national players in a test match last Sunday in South Africa. Batsman Cameron Bancroft had tried to prepare his ball with an adhesive tape in front of the television cameras in order to change its flight characteristics. He then let the evidence disappear in his pants - but by then it was too late. Since then, the whole of Australia has been in shock, even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke up: "It was previously inconceivable that the Australian cricket team could be involved in a fraud case."

Behind the Bancroft action were team captain Steve Smith and his runner-up David Warner. The trio was immediately banned and can no longer compete for the national team for twelve months. After his return home, Captain Smith said with tears in his eyes: "I know I will regret it for the rest of my life." The whole dimension of the incident is difficult to understand for cricket laypeople, it even works at first glance amusing.

On the other hand, if you imagine what would happen if a German national soccer player disregarded the rules of fairness, you might understand why the whole cricket world is upside down at the moment. How great would the excitement be if an unapproved ball were smuggled into play before a free kick in an international match? So what if that gave shooter Toni Kroos a better chance of scoring a goal? And what if the whole thing happens with the blessing of Manuel Neuer or Thomas Müller and a disappointed Chancellor Angela Merkel gives herself a cabin ban for the upcoming World Cup?

Fairness is paramount to them

Nevertheless, the German football fans would probably hope that the sanctions will remain manageable, that the culprits will be forgiven and that the matter will not be further aggravated. But that's exactly what is happening in Australia right now. Ball manipulation is forbidden in cricket, but it has always happened. As a rule, the convicted sinners were banned for a few more games and were then allowed to participate again. But twelve months? Actually unthinkable. And that's one of the reasons why the world is wondering what is happening down under. Aren't the Australians exaggerating a little with their self-tearing?

You have to know how deeply rooted the sport of cricket is on the fifth continent. There was an Australian national team before the state was even established as such. Anyone who has ever been to Australia during the traditional Ashes Series against England may have wondered why taxi drivers turn on the radio, but no music is playing, but a sports reporter excitedly commenting on something that only makes the listener shrug.

For Australians, fairness is paramount in sport. They want to be proud of their cricket heroes, which has become increasingly difficult for fans in the recent past, given the many smaller dramas around the team. Now the big bang has come and the suspension of the trio of players does not have to be the end. National coach Darren Lehmann has so far asserted that he did not know anything about the fraud and is still in office. It doesn't have to stay that way, however. And whether Bancroft, Smith and Warner will be allowed to return to the selection at some point will be discussed extensively by an entire country over the next twelve months. After all, cricket is a gentleman's sport - especially in Australia.

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