So, it had been 4-5 days that I didn’t speak a word about the #BallTemperingSaga when I finally decided to break my mouth yesterday on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, I took Smith-Warner’s side against the decision taken by Cricket Australia to ban the captain and vice-captain for a year. And, then starts the stupidity by some of the Aussies who were clearly supporting the ban on the cricketers. In fact, some of them urged for life-ban and I was stunned, speechless. I started recollecting the information whether they have committed any other serious crime; might be the murder of a fellow cricketer or spot-fixing. I am baffled by the way people suddenly became highly moralistic. People around the globe, including cricket-lovers, former cricketers, and Australian media started targeting the players as they are some criminals. They started behaving as they have never cheated somebody or tried to do so.
From day one of this controversy, I was against the way players behaved on the field. It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that we do not expect such things from players of Smith’s calibre, I opine. He should have maintained his composure during the keenness of winning matches for his country at any cost. He should have realized that the love he gives to his country and its people, would abandon him just for a mistake that counts little in cricket. He should have realized that cricket fans and cricket boards have a great record of stranding greats when they retire or commit a little piece of error. Remember Kapil Dev, Mark Waugh, Ian Chappell, Chris Gayle, Kevin Pieterson, VVS Laxman, Saurav Ganguly, etc., the list goes on and on. Smith and Warner should have remembered that no matter what records they possess, how many matches they have won for their country, how many times they have made their nation’s flag high, will be of no use after they get caught in the incident which is completely for the sake of the country. Bancroft should have known that the way he was drilling out in the Sun to get into the Australian team matters nothing for the country and fans.
Like many of you, I too didn’t believe when the matter first sparked. I was hoping it to turn into a bad dream. He is such a gentleman of this great game, which can be reflected by his batting stats, fielding skills, and behaviour (barring this tiny one). When I heard Smith’s name in the controversy, I was speechless. But then I realized he is just a cricket player like me, you, and other local players; the difference being he got international recognition. The fact is, we put extra pressure on our players. I remember the way people threw stones on Ganguly’s home in Kolkata after 2003 final loss. I also have not forgotten how people blamed and criticized Anushka Sharma after Kohli’s failure in 2015 WC semi-final. Last year’s Champions Trophy loss to Pakistan is also fresh enough to revive fans’ madness. And how can we forget Aussie media bullying its team for Ashes losses against rival England?
What I feel is that along with the banned trio, it’s we (fans), board, and the coach, who failed to create a positive environment in the team are responsible equally. It’s time to pay back the respect and love our international players give to us and the country. We must realize that winning and losing are two inevitable sides of a coin. No team has 100% win record, neither the Manchester United of late 1900’s nor the West Indies of 70’s and 80’s.