CHEATING AND STUPIDITY ARE NOT THE SAME

Posted on March 30, 2018. Filed under: AUSTRALIA, CRICKET, MATCH FIXING, SOUTH AFRICA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The sentences have been awarded but the debate still continues and opinions are divided over the harshness of the punishment or the leniency shown to the accused. It will take a lot of time for the whole matter to be wiped out from the memories.

The initial reaction to the ball tampering footage on the television screen was one of shock and utter disbelief. It was so because the Aussies always have climbed the moral high horse whenever any rival team or player was found in ‘violation’ of the ‘spirit of the game’. This is notwithstanding the allegations of Mark Waugh and Shane Warne passing some information to a bookie.

Initially, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft talked about making the ball rough using the dust from the pitch picked up by the yellow sticky tape. Smith talked about the decision being taken collectively by the ‘leadership group’.

Then after the enquiry it was found that sandpaper was used to make the ball rougher on one side to help the bowlers take advantage of reverse swing. Or was the intention to make the on-field umpires replace the ball ? I am afraid we are never going to get any answer to either of the questions. Of course, there have been murmurs that the Aussie bowlers got benefit earlier from the replacement ball.

I am appalled by the suggestion that the whole idea was based on stupidity. Cheating is different from stupidity. It is only when the cheat gets caught, that he or she appears to be stupid. Otherwise, when the cheat is successful, the non-cheats are the ones who look and feel stupid. It is the examination season and I want to use the analogy of students who want to cheat using some ‘foreign material’.

As long as the cheat is able to successfully evade the gaze of the invigilators, he or she is successful. Sometimes, this causes frustration for the honest students. But when the dishonest is caught in the act, he or she appears to be extremely stupid while in the first place, the act involves no stupidity. It is all premeditated and calculated. Of course, with the right connections, the dishonest students are able to escape any kind of punishment much to the chagrin of the lesser mortals.

However, there has been a saving grace. When Hansie Cronje the late former captain of South Africa was alleged to be involved in match fixing, the administrators from that country first questioned the competence of Delhi police. As has been the case with corruption, Cronje’s rather affluent background was cited as another proof of his non-involvement. It is a rather old and outdated argument that corruption is the preserve of the poor ! Ali Bacher the then supremo of South African cricket talked about the strong Christian upbringing of Cronje to assert the non-involvement of the captain of South Africa. But Cronje admitted his involvement much to the embarrassment of his backers. Even then the same Christian upbringing was cited as the reason for the owning up the offence.

Thankfully, the Aussies have not used the religious card to justify the cheating and the subsequent admission of guilt. 

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