FROM AFTA’s chief executive, Jayson Westbury – Like almost all Australians, I am a patriot. I believe in this country, I believe in our values and I am proud whenever I am travelling all over the world to be Australian. It is in fact one of the things that the world loves about our country, our pride, our vigour for life, our freedoms and our values.
Then there are those idiots who think it is a good idea to destroy our international reputation by tampering with a cricket ball. Watching the news services over the past few days reminds me of my childhood (I am 50), which is a long time ago, when all those unbelievable images of bad cricket stories were being told. Now we have an international incident of catastrophic proportions because a few ill-conceived non thinking Australian cricketers thought it would be a good idea to cheat. It is so un-Australian. Every taxi driver, Uber driver and person sitting on the train who loves their cricket can’t stop talking about this and holding their hand to their mouth in disbelief that this is real news and not fake news. Sadly, the story is true and one thing is for sure – the Australian Cricket team, and more than likely Australian Cricket, has changed forever as a result of these actions.
Trying to explain to an eight-year-old boy who loves his cricket what has happened is almost impossible. It is impossible for two reasons. The first because eight-year-old boys worship these guys who they watch on the TV making history and representing Australia and think of one day being just like them. And the second is to explain how cheating is not only just “not cool”, is so wrong and inappropriate and that these guys responsible will have to be punished and more than likely will never play international cricket again.
This is hard going and while this is the case in my house right now, I am sure there are conversations like this going on all over the world. Cricket is one of the true international sports. It is aspirational and inspirational for young people and when they are shocked like the rest of us that something like this can happen, it leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and what is worst of all it was Australians. We just don’t do this.
Hopefully, for Australia the people in charge of the game will do the right thing and act swiftly to ensure that this does not happen again and can bring with that sound and reasonable explanations so that people around the world don’t think poorly of our country, but also to provide some hope for the those young people who have been thinking of wearing the baggy green, that it is not a saggy green, and that the reputation and status of Australian Cricket can be restored to deliver on the dreams and aspirations of so many who love the game.
Shame on those who dare cheat.