Aussie Cricket Incident

James Brown
Member with Delegated Authority
FISA/Corporate Partnerships/Sporting Integrity

James Brown

Member with delegated authority on

Sporting Integrity

Cricket has been around for awhile, beginning in the late 16th century in south east England. It became a global sport in the 19th century. In the 17th century, it was decreed that cricket would be played in “a gentlemanly manner” with no sledging, cheating, bodyline bowling, or excessive appealing. 

Which brings us to Australian cricket bowler, Cameron Bancroft, who was recently caught tampering with a cricket ball during an international match. The televised video clips of him sanding the ball and then putting the strip of sandpaper down his trousers was seen around the world almost the same instant.

National sports stars are seen in the eyes of millions as role models. What are we to make of the arrogance of Australian Cricket Captain, Steve Smith, openly admitting that “the leadership group” devised a plan to tamper with the ball. When found out, he initially refused to step down “because his leadership was still required!”

Smith thought that it was OK to break the rules as long as he didn’t get caught. What message is that sending to our children in a society? What example is this from a role model – from the leader of a team looked up to because people trusted him to do the right thing?

Where are the sanctions? What are the consequences? Are the rules clear and is the punishment severe enough to avoid temptation? After all, Smith and the leadership team are performing at the highest level in representing their country.

The problem is that as a result of the televised video clip, the impact of the ball tampering went wider than the sport itself with the media extending the behaviour of Smith and his team to reflect the behaviour of all Australians.  

In less than an hour, not only had the Australian Cricket team’s reputation become permanently tarnished, but the whole Australian population were branded as cheats.

Australian Cricket clearly has not understood that the seriousness of this event has extended beyond the game itself. In addition, it seems that cricket rules rank ball tampering as not the highest level of misconduct. 

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland’s total avoidance of describing the event as cheating along with the mild suspensions of Captain Smith (12 months), the co-caption (12 months) and the bowler (9 months) shows a complete insensitivity to the gravity of the ball tampering.  They just don’t get it.

Some media have been saying that severe sanctions such as a total life ban from playing national cricket, not just for the captain, co-captain and bowler, but also for the team’s CEO and board, are needed to protect the integrity and brand of Cricket Australia and Australia’s reputation.

Sports men and women follow leaders who train them to push the limits of human performance. Integrity of sport assures them of a fair playing field.‎  

National teams who live up to their reputation of fair play contribute to their country’s brand as a good place to live and play.‎  



Transparency International New Zealand, PO Box 10123, The Terrace Wellington, 6143 New Zealand Copyright © Transparency International New Zealand 2009 - 2019.
Website design and marketing from