Like many others I was angry and sad in about equal proportion to discover the ‘ball-tampering’ event in South Africa. I played cricket from an early age, and thoroughly enjoyed it, though it was always second to tennis and later to squash racquets. To me the action of Warner, Smith and Bancroft was simply inexplicable. It took me a day to calm down. Ball-tampering is now new, and du Plessis in South Africa was fined for doing it only a couple of years ago. At the core of it is the problem of money. Cricket is enmeshed in a vast amount of money, network money, corporate money, advertising money, sponsorship money, winning money. Those who excel at the game will do very well out of it. But winning is all-important. If there is to be ‘clean-up’ it will be a most difficult business. I’m not sure it is possible to return to the time, before the second world war), when it was a sport for amateurs (or in the UK, ‘gentlemen’). I’m not even sure I want that.
I cannot imagine that any of three had any conception of the possible cost to them of doing what they did. For what it’s worth, my sense is that the punishments handed out are about right, though the banishment of Warner from any leadership position in the future seems a bit vindictive.