In case you missed it, our international cricket reputation’s fucked after news of blatant cheating surfaced over night, breaking the hearts of thousands.
If you did miss it – footage was thrown onto our tellies of Cameron Bancroft rubbing the cricket ball with some yellow sticky tape in an attempt to make it more rough. Why? Reverse swing against South Africa. Even though play was continued, fans from both sides swarmed Twitter demanding to know what just went down.
Then, it happened.
In a press conference with our captain Steve Smith and Bancroft, Smith took full responsibility for the obvious ball-tampering, insisted the coaches had no idea, and confirmed he would not be stepping down from the captaincy.
Earlier today, former captain Michael Clarke appeared on Channel 9’s Sunday Sport to share his heartbreak and disappointment. Clarke also admitted how many fans had already reached out to him on social media asking if any cheating happened under his captaincy. So yep, reputation is not so good.
Just moments ago, former Aussie cricketer and BBL legend Brad Hogg took to The Project on Ten to share his thoughts on the incident. And unlike many, Hogg is far more forgiving. Hogg believes we should acknowledge the mistake made and give the players another chance.
Let's get behind these guys and make sure they learn from their mistakes and look, I'm backing them. I am not happy with what they have done, they have to rectify it and make the baggy green good again. @Brad_Hogg on the Cricket Australia scandal #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/nv57QiyqhE— The Project (@theprojecttv) March 25, 2018
Others? Not so much.
As you can imagine fans are both disappointed and disgusted by the news, some even going as far as to burn their cricket merchandise.
The hashtag #sandpapergate is also now a thing, an obvious nod to the Watergate scandal where former US President and Republican Richard Nixon tried to cover up his involvement in FBI and CIA agents breaking into the Democratic Party‘s offices and tapping phone lines. AKA cheating.
Still so disappointed in what I saw yesterday from @stevesmith49 and @CricketAus in general it leaves only one thing to do – #TorchYourMerch. #AUSvSA #balltampering— Richard K (@rickokar) March 25, 2018
Cc @oliverpeterson @6PRSportsToday pic.twitter.com/uR66XTOFmD
It’s a real pity. Australian media and commentators have been putting Steve Smith up with Bradman! I think those comparisons will stop pretty quickly.— Mick Coll (@mickyc11) March 25, 2018
Then you get the really angry fans.
Resigning would imply that Steve Smith had some sort of integrity and that is too good for him. No he should be sacked as a player and captain and forever be associated with the disgraceful act. All for playing hard but this is too much.— juckers (@ozbroncofan) March 25, 2018
My blood boils every time I see #SteveSmith throw #Bancroft under the bus and say he is still the right man to lead the Aussie team. Be a man and step down! The Aussie team is great but you make them look like they can't win without cheating.#balltampering #stepdownsmith— Elmarie Porthouse (@Elmarie912) March 25, 2018
You have shamed Australia and the game of cricket stand down Steve Smith— Mark Roles (@MarkRoles2) March 25, 2018
Disgraceful that @CricketAus haven't stripped Steve Smith of the captaincy despite him admitting to pre-meditated cheating. It's also very low that he got Bancroft to do the actual ball-tampering rather than doing it himself! #cricket #cheats— Laurence Thorn (@LTIceHockeyNerd) March 25, 2018
And then the upset.
Probably one of my favorite batsman in the last 3 years. An amazing talent and wonderful to watch when he gets going. But Steve Smith needs to be banned from all forms of cricket, his career must end. Hansie Cronje also made his silly mistake and it cost him his career #SAvAUS— Awonke Tini (@AwonkeTini) March 25, 2018
Only thing I'm going to comment about the cheating scandal from Cricket Aus is that I'm really fucking disappointed ESPECIALLY by our captain, Steve Smith! Idolised this man, and now one of our greatest Australian cricketers will forever be known as a cheat.— the winter soldier. (@nicolee_hanna) March 25, 2018
What disgusts me more about #SandPaperGate is how Steve Smith assumes that he will admit, apologise & do better & everything will carry on as per normal after that. "It was the first time & it won't happen again."— Qhaga (@ClixWell) March 25, 2018
BREAKING – South African immigration minister offers fast-tracked protection visas to 11 Australians facing imminent danger of persecution in their home country. #CricketAustralia— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) March 25, 2018
If you ever doubted just how important our sporting legacy is to the country, well now you know.