Australia cricket December 19, 2012

Clarke sets the benchmark high

Since taking over from Ricky Ponting Clarke has seemingly created a culture that is refreshingly open, honest and upbeat, even in adversity
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"It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't" - Mignon McLaughlin

It's hard to tell at this stage whether the ball-tampering allegations will turn out to be a storm in a teacup or something that leads to greater intervention by the ICC. What is interesting though is the way it has been reported here in Australia, and the benchmark it has now set for the admirable team culture that Michael Clarke has already managed to establish in his short tenure as captain.

Since taking over from Ricky Ponting, whose captaincy was occasionally tainted by the perception that the spirit of cricket wasn't always adhered to, Clarke has seemingly created a culture that is refreshingly open, honest and upbeat, even in adversity. I use the word 'perception' with care when talking about Ponting's reign because opinions can be so varied on such a controversial topic so to label it thus merely acknowledges that in some quarters, Ponting's leadership era was perceived in that light.

Clarke, on the other hand, has a different personal brand to Ponting (and arguably very different to any former Australian captain in recent memory). I am prepared to take him at his word when he denies any knowledge or deliberate involvement in this latest ball-tampering saga because his record thus far speaks of a thoughtful and decent man who understands that the honour he is bestowed with as captain of Australia demands a certain level of dignity. Likewise Peter Siddle; I knew him as a young man when he was at the Cricket Academy in Brisbane and was always impressed by his demeanour and manner. There was very little to dislike about this big-hearted chap so I'm more than happy to take his word that he was not part of anything that was deliberately untoward.

What is interesting though is the moral high ground that the Australian team is now occupying, not necessarily of their own doing. In today's Australian newspaper, Peter Lalor attributes the following sentiments to Clarke. These words may not necessarily be Clarke's exact words, because it was not represented as a direct quote, but one can presume that it broadly represents Clarke's views. Lalor's words were "captain Michael Clarke said he was absolutely sure his players would not breach the spirit of the game."

If that is an accurate representation of Clarke's views, it is admirable that his team sets such high standards of behaviour as a benchmark rather than a retrospective defence of any untoward behaviour. Note, he is not saying that they "did not breach the spirit of the game" but he's actually elevating it to a higher plane by saying that his players "would not breach the spirit of the game". The nuance of those words, if accurately reflected, suggests a moral position that is laudable because it presupposes a culture that would not countenance engaging in sharp practices.

Clarke is not so much defending an accusation so much as proudly claiming an organisational culture that makes it clear that under his captaincy, Australia will always aim to play cricket in the right spirit. I sincerely hope it also extends to all aspects of the spirit of cricket including sledging, dissent, social media transgressions, respect for umpires/opposition players etc. If that is what Clarke's leadership stands for, long may he reign.

What will be interesting to see is if the Australian media (and a team led by Clarke) also extend that same respect and presumption of innocence, bordering on righteous indignation on the part of Siddle, to others under the spotlight in similar circumstances. Except in the case of the Shahid Afridi ball-biting incident, where the actions were clearly indefensible, we now owe it to our opponents to be similarly charitable if they are ever accused of not playing in the spirit of the game. After all, I'm sure Clarke would agree that such values are not the sole domain of the Australian team and that presumably all captains would also be equally sure that their players too would not breach the spirit of the game. We owe them that courtesy at least.

In a direct quote, Clarke goes on to say, "I 100% believe we always play in the spirit of the game, I don't think any of the Australian players would ever jeopardise that or do anything to ruin our reputation. We play hard on the field but we understand there is a line you can't cross and we play the right way."

Presumably he is speaking 'post-Clarke captaincy era' because it would be untenable (and untrue) to say that Australia (or any country for that matter) has always played in the spirit of the game and that they have never done anything to jeopardise that reputation. One can only think (hope?) that he is speaking for any team that is led by him because it has not always been thus. If all international captains were of similar ilk, and to be fair, most of the current captains around the world broadly reflect these values, then the spirit of cricket is in safe hands.

I can speak only of the Australian media because I read and listen to it every day (and being an Australian-based writer makes me one of them) when I say that it behoves us to afford the same sort of indignant, "of course he's innocent" sort of editorial slant when a player from another country is accused of ball-tampering too. Playing in the spirit of the game is a universal quality that all nations are equally capable of embracing and as writers, we are duty-bound to afford them that same generosity of spirit (until proven otherwise). Anything less than that is uncharitable at best, bordering on discriminatory or racist at worst.

In the same way that I am prepared to accept Clarke and Siddle's instant indignation, I am also prepared to accept that the initial complaint made by the Sri Lankan management was made in good faith and there was nothing sinister or malicious about it. It would be hypocritical to ascribe higher motives to one party over the other unless evidence of a sinister plot emerges later. There is not always the need to find a villain when looking for the truth.

For example, if a Pakistani bowler were to be accused of ball-tampering (and denies it), I would hope that we would be just as quick to write an initial story framing him in a positive light. To taint him with associated guilt just because Afridi had once been found guilty of a similar offence would be akin to labelling all South African captains as match-fixers just because Hansie Cronje once was. It is a ridiculous notion to think that the commitment to the spirit of cricket resides only in Australia in much the same way that is ridiculous to assume that just because someone is Australian, they are therefore afforded automatic immunity from ball-tampering. Vilifying either team in this latest incident leaves us open to accusations of selective bias and that too is surely not in the spirit of cricket writing.

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • imran on December 22, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    Atleast someone showed some courage. very well written. Sums up our feelings very well.

  • Gajaman Nona on December 21, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    Spot on!

    But it's stupid to presume honesty of an individual. I have seen MC had defended RP when they justified obvious bumped catches.

    SLCB with the current financial crisis will never act against the will of CA. Peter Siddel is quite safe even if he tampered with the ball. I don't say he did though. But there is a clear doubt in deed.

    I bet SL boys will make us proud in the next two games for sure.

    Lasith Malinga which ever the stories you tell you are a disappointment for most SL fans. You keep playing in EVERY big money earning tournaments,yet you don't want to help SL create a history by playing in a single yest match in this tour. Even you ball 15 overs per innings is enough for us. So,I don't respect Malinga so much to be honest.

  • martin on December 21, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    A fantastic article, coming from an Australian writer makes it a balanced view. I agree Clark is a very fair player he will not only be remembered for his batting but also as a great Australian Captain.

  • rohan perera on December 21, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    can anyone who saw what seddle did explain me what he was doing

  • Rajesh Menon on December 21, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    Double standards at its very best!!ICC always barks at non-white nations but develop cold feet to take action against these Autralians,English,South Africans.Australia never play their cricket fairly,the less said about thier racist crowd the better!!

  • Mitcher on December 21, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    I've posed this question a couple of times and never seen a response, but think it's relevant considering some typical responses to this piece. So often we hear Indian fans these days bragging about their complete dominance of the game's finances and administration. Yet, in the next breath it's still common to hear whinging that Indian/Asian players are always hard done by. So... Are you our unquestioned overlords? Or the poor, persecuted victims? Don't really think you can have it both ways.

  • Michael Jeh on December 20, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    Confuscious, you seem confused mate. There are in excess of 40 comments, ranging in views from one set of opinions to the other, all of them expressed in a respectful and sensible way. Good debate, me thinks. Warren's comment at the very top of the page made me laugh. Apart from the fact that jingoism is not a criteria for being a writer (that's called propaganda), questioning someone's patriotism for raising philosophical questions in friendly debate hints at a deep-seated insecurity. In an article which unabashedly (and to the annoyance of some) praises both Clarke and Siddle, how that is interpreted as allegiance to a foreign team is beyond me. Regardless, what does allegiance/patriotism have to do with the price of eggs anyway? We're talking about a cricketing issue - this is not a citizenship loyalty test! Speaking of eggs, just had some for breakfast today (in reference to the very funny comment about eating babies for breakfast. That was a good one mate - enjoyed that!

  • Spadeaspade on December 20, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Micheal Jeh , What a load of rot you write. You say you take there word for it but your writing has major undertones contradicting your statement. You must have forgotten that Clarke said that he believes Australians have played in the spirit of cricket in all teams his has been part of. As for sharp practice , I think people must be ignorant to think that teams or players don't use sharp practice. A classic example would be batsmen that swap gloves with 2 minutes to go before the end of a session. In Addition its important to note that each country has there own style of playing the game , This is something that should never be tampered with, In Australia there is Niggle or Sledging if thats what you want to call it ain all levels of cricket from u14's up you will see it happen, and you know what I love it , it makes the game great to play it challenges your mental strength. Provided players are not speaking as the bowler starts his run -up a few words here and there are fin

  • Chetlur on December 20, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    Michael Jeh says "is record thus far speaks of a thoughtful and decent man". Can't be referring to the guy who not so long ago refused to acknowledge an edge that flew to first slip and then claimed a catch off the turf? All this thing about taking someone's word is too simplistic - does not matter who were talking about.

  • Drew on December 20, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    The obvious act of stupidity in all this comes from the Sri Lankan management. Their only basis for raising this with the match officials was that the channel 9 camera's had zoomed in on the ball. This is a frequent occurrence in channel 9 footage and usually accompanies a discussion of the balls condition - in Hobart it was a matter of interest because the ball was being scruffed up a lot by the wicket, but in general there is interest in the condition of the ball because of the possibility of reverse swing. The worst part of this is this comment, taken from a cricinfo article on the incident: "We have the footage with us," Senanayake had said. "We recorded the game and it's there for everybody to see. We saw something illegal and have reacted to that. I have spoken to the match referee informally. It's up to them to act now, but we will have to pursue it further if nothing happens." So nothing has happened, are they going to pursue this further?

  • imran on December 22, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    Atleast someone showed some courage. very well written. Sums up our feelings very well.

  • Gajaman Nona on December 21, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    Spot on!

    But it's stupid to presume honesty of an individual. I have seen MC had defended RP when they justified obvious bumped catches.

    SLCB with the current financial crisis will never act against the will of CA. Peter Siddel is quite safe even if he tampered with the ball. I don't say he did though. But there is a clear doubt in deed.

    I bet SL boys will make us proud in the next two games for sure.

    Lasith Malinga which ever the stories you tell you are a disappointment for most SL fans. You keep playing in EVERY big money earning tournaments,yet you don't want to help SL create a history by playing in a single yest match in this tour. Even you ball 15 overs per innings is enough for us. So,I don't respect Malinga so much to be honest.

  • martin on December 21, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    A fantastic article, coming from an Australian writer makes it a balanced view. I agree Clark is a very fair player he will not only be remembered for his batting but also as a great Australian Captain.

  • rohan perera on December 21, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    can anyone who saw what seddle did explain me what he was doing

  • Rajesh Menon on December 21, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    Double standards at its very best!!ICC always barks at non-white nations but develop cold feet to take action against these Autralians,English,South Africans.Australia never play their cricket fairly,the less said about thier racist crowd the better!!

  • Mitcher on December 21, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    I've posed this question a couple of times and never seen a response, but think it's relevant considering some typical responses to this piece. So often we hear Indian fans these days bragging about their complete dominance of the game's finances and administration. Yet, in the next breath it's still common to hear whinging that Indian/Asian players are always hard done by. So... Are you our unquestioned overlords? Or the poor, persecuted victims? Don't really think you can have it both ways.

  • Michael Jeh on December 20, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    Confuscious, you seem confused mate. There are in excess of 40 comments, ranging in views from one set of opinions to the other, all of them expressed in a respectful and sensible way. Good debate, me thinks. Warren's comment at the very top of the page made me laugh. Apart from the fact that jingoism is not a criteria for being a writer (that's called propaganda), questioning someone's patriotism for raising philosophical questions in friendly debate hints at a deep-seated insecurity. In an article which unabashedly (and to the annoyance of some) praises both Clarke and Siddle, how that is interpreted as allegiance to a foreign team is beyond me. Regardless, what does allegiance/patriotism have to do with the price of eggs anyway? We're talking about a cricketing issue - this is not a citizenship loyalty test! Speaking of eggs, just had some for breakfast today (in reference to the very funny comment about eating babies for breakfast. That was a good one mate - enjoyed that!

  • Spadeaspade on December 20, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Micheal Jeh , What a load of rot you write. You say you take there word for it but your writing has major undertones contradicting your statement. You must have forgotten that Clarke said that he believes Australians have played in the spirit of cricket in all teams his has been part of. As for sharp practice , I think people must be ignorant to think that teams or players don't use sharp practice. A classic example would be batsmen that swap gloves with 2 minutes to go before the end of a session. In Addition its important to note that each country has there own style of playing the game , This is something that should never be tampered with, In Australia there is Niggle or Sledging if thats what you want to call it ain all levels of cricket from u14's up you will see it happen, and you know what I love it , it makes the game great to play it challenges your mental strength. Provided players are not speaking as the bowler starts his run -up a few words here and there are fin

  • Chetlur on December 20, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    Michael Jeh says "is record thus far speaks of a thoughtful and decent man". Can't be referring to the guy who not so long ago refused to acknowledge an edge that flew to first slip and then claimed a catch off the turf? All this thing about taking someone's word is too simplistic - does not matter who were talking about.

  • Drew on December 20, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    The obvious act of stupidity in all this comes from the Sri Lankan management. Their only basis for raising this with the match officials was that the channel 9 camera's had zoomed in on the ball. This is a frequent occurrence in channel 9 footage and usually accompanies a discussion of the balls condition - in Hobart it was a matter of interest because the ball was being scruffed up a lot by the wicket, but in general there is interest in the condition of the ball because of the possibility of reverse swing. The worst part of this is this comment, taken from a cricinfo article on the incident: "We have the footage with us," Senanayake had said. "We recorded the game and it's there for everybody to see. We saw something illegal and have reacted to that. I have spoken to the match referee informally. It's up to them to act now, but we will have to pursue it further if nothing happens." So nothing has happened, are they going to pursue this further?

  • Confuscious on December 20, 2012, 6:34 GMT

    Mate, why do you think there are no comments to your article?

  • cricketlover on December 20, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    spot on! couldn't have been better written or said. if one goes over history of 'cricket incidents' you'll see teams from other regions usually come out badly. so its right to say innocent until proven guilty for all players across all countries. cricket is like a family. one should not vilify other family member unless hard evidence is available.

    well done again !

  • Jez on December 20, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    What a nothing article. A few digs at Ponting through claiming Clarke is "different", a few of the same old digs at Australian cricket, and no questioning of how Siddle might have possibly picked at the seam with no fingernails.

    If someone has been accused of ball tampering, you should address the incident. Not waffle about the past transgressions by different cricket teams and the vagaries of the "spirit of the game".

    Siddle was accused by Sri Lankan management and the Sri Lankan captain of ball tampering. They said it was "obvious" from a screen shot of the TV broadcast, which also "obviously" showed Siddle chews his fingernails and couldn't lift the seam if he wanted to. Based on the image that they used in their complaint "of course he's innocent" is not editorial slant, it's the only response you can give if you're honest.

    So tell us, Michael, did Siddle tamper with the ball or not?

  • Doc.Cricket on December 20, 2012, 2:13 GMT

    A good read. This is how cricket can again become Gentle men's game by Promoting peace and discouraging Racism/Nationalism

  • Louella Cerejo on December 20, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    Not 1 comment on fair play, truth & honesty that just about says it all!?!

  • MATT H on December 20, 2012, 0:26 GMT

    Well said Mr Jeh! We can only hope. Innocent until proven guilty is way that every person would like to be treated if they were the one's under the microscope. There is balancing act of course between this approach and being gullible. And given Murili was once called a chucker in front of 80,000 at the G, the Sri Lankans going to the media is not entirely shocking

  • Meety on December 19, 2012, 22:57 GMT

    Good article, although I would say the Sri lankan management's handling of the whole "ball tampering" saga was poor. They should of given a no-comment. Then poor old Mahela got hung out to dry trying to defend his management - where were they afterwards? Felt sorry for Mahela, but the comments attributed to Senanayake, makes him (IMO) look like a dope! He stated " We recorded the game and it's there for everybody to see. We saw something illegal and have reacted to that. I have spoken to the match referee informally. It's up to them to act now, but we will have to pursue it further if nothing happens" - what did he see? Is he going to lodge any further complaint - Mahela has basically said it is dead & buried. IMO - Senanayake is probably liable for slander, (as much as I would hate to see lawyers involved in cricket). There should be some official reprimand for stating "...We saw something illegal..." The only way around this is an apology from Senanyake.

  • Peiris Telge on December 19, 2012, 21:19 GMT

    I fully agree.Well put.

  • PPK on December 19, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    Clarke has captained Australia well in all formats and thankfully there haven't been any fractional incidents as there were during Ponting era but then again, Clarke's reign is still in its formative stages.

    While we can praise Clarke's present captaincy, I'm not willing to take any cricketer on his word, let alone Clarke or Ponting.

    Not so long ago, Ponting and Clarke were men well known to have obscenely claimed grounded catches with not a jot of decency. Now that Ponting has retired with the most Test wins under his belt and Clarke stars in a victorious Aussie side, they suddenly turn into men of honesty and decency and what not.

    T'was wisely said long ago that history is written by the winners.

  • Jimmy on December 19, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    Great article Michael. I believe that there was nothing malicious about this ball tampering saga from both sides and its time to move on and look forward to the Boxing Day test against two great sides.

    As for the media coverage, its unlikely for visiting side to get favorable mention in Australia at the moment (or any other moment in history for that matter). I say this because currently, test cricket viewing is on the decline in Australia. So any controversy involving Australia backed-up by reports that puts Aussie patriotism on the line is sure to bring more local visitors for the next games. It wouldn't really surprise me if this whole thing was doctored up by the organizers of the test series.

  • Ravin on December 19, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    The question is will Siddle give a clear explanation to what the heck he was doing in what seem to be raising a red flad in that footage. I think thats the only thing that can put it to rest. It's not a case of "Innocent unless proven guilty" or "Just trust us, we never break the law". So we wait for an explanation from Siddle....

  • James Ali on December 19, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    Part 3: Cricinfo Links regarding the South Africa vs Eng Ball tampering allegations:

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/rsaveng09/content/story/442836.html

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/rsaveng09/content/story/443016.html

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/rsaveng09/content/story/442621.html

  • cricket-india on December 19, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    "I am prepared to take him at his word when he denies any knowledge or deliberate involvement in this latest ball-tampering saga because his record thus far speaks of a thoughtful and decent man who understands that the honour he is bestowed with as captain of Australia demands a certain level of dignity." Really? This is the same Clarke who claimed he had cleanly caught a bump ball and got away with it thanks to the generosity of the match referee during Sydneygate 2008. a similar offence by Moin khan a few yrs before had cost him a ban but Clarke got away with nothing, not even a rap on the knuckeles. Michael Jeh, you can do better; granted Clarke is in good form and is leading Oz the way they want to be led, but that does nothing to dispel the shadows already cast on his moral leadership.

  • James Ali on December 19, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    Part 2: You have to understand the context of the ball tampering issue. For years it was either overtly or indirectly spoken of as cheating. In 2005 when the English pace attack destroyed the great Aus team it was suddenly labeled “an art”. Maybe I am bitter, but to anyone who witnessed what people and especially the press use to say about reverse swing, and how quickly the whole attitude towards it shifted, and it suddenly became “an art” this was a clear lesson that bias especially in the cricket press is ever pervasive. “For example, if a Pakistani bowler were to be accused of ball-tampering (and denies it), I would hope that we would be just as quick to write an initial story framing him in a positive light.” Do you really think that would happen? Honestly? Has this ever happened?

  • James Ali on December 19, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    “It is a ridiculous notion to think that the commitment to the spirit of cricket resides only in Australia…” I’ve split the sentence into two parts, this part had me nodding in agreement, but then: “…in much the same way that is ridiculous to assume that just because someone is Australian, they are therefore afforded automatic immunity from ball-tampering” I realized that the point of the entire sentence was actually the second half. An attempt to label anyone “ridiculous” if they questions why such issues are more or less swept under the rug when they are done by Aus or Eng. A few years ago there was an incident in South Africa. Anderson and Broad where doing all kinds of things to the ball including stepping on it. So blatant were their actions that Michael Vaughan said on the air something like “what would we say if they had been Pakistani?” In a press conference at the end of the days play AB de villers said “England were being a bit naughty”. Eng were cleared of any wrong doing

  • ManintheWhiteCoat on December 19, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    Hope Cricinfo will publish this. I’m a neutral cricket fan. If you look at the Video footage, especially Cowan’s one, there was something there. Anyone can see unless you are blind or you don’t want to admit it. You don’t tamper the ball in one go. You do it little by little (over by over) so that the umpires wont identify. ICC reply was a child’s answer. If the opposition team is England or India the ICC would have not got away that easily. Just imagine if the player was from Pakistan he would be sent to jail. Having said that Aussies are one of the Best Teams in the world. But wrong is wrong who ever does it. As they say its not Cricket!! What do you think guys?.

  • Uday on December 19, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    A laudable sentiment, and one that is lacking in many journalists across the world, even if the captains themselves are not guilty of it. My thoughts go to Indian and English journalists who were both ready to term pitches as unsportsmanlike during the Indian and English tours of each other. Unfortunately, too many journalists see themselves as custodians of their nation's pride, and are quick to resort to the kind of prejudice and excuse making that we would be aghast if our sportsmen displayed.

  • Ash on December 19, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Good points. My only problem with giving the Sri Lankans the benefit of the doubt is that they made their concerns public before establishing all the facts. A quick word with the match referee would have sufficed. Once the umpires had confirmed that the condition of the ball hadn't changed, the matter would have been closed. As it is, Siddle will always be associated in the minds of some with ball tampering, despite being entirely innocent. Broad and Anderson suffered similarly on the South African tour of 2009-10.

  • AJINKYA on December 19, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Why does it happen only in australia

  • rusty on December 19, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    If it had been any other bowler than Siddle, I would consider that SL were quite justified in asking the question, if the situation warranted it. BUt it seems in this case, it was simply a move by SL to undermine the spirit of Siddle, a tactic that had nothing to do with his bowling and everything to do with his dedication and unceasing energy, a dedication I don't see in any one else in the Aussie team, except Hussey; and certainly don't see in any SL player. It's a pity, really - up til now, I held the SL team in great esteem; now, I see them more as opportunists. He was the worst one to choose for this purpose. They should have picked on someone like Watson, if they just wanted to be stirrers. Tainting a player, just for the sake of it, is certainly not in the spirit of cricket, regardless of race.

  • Dinker Rao on December 19, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    I never ever believed that Ponting and his teams exemplified sportsmanship. I can't comment on Clarke, because I haven't seen or heard him as captain. But Ponting was mean and nasty on the field.

  • WheresTheEmpire on December 19, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    An interesting article raising a lot of issues. I believe that it is possible to read too much into a couple of words uttered in haste at a press conference.

    I also believe that too much emphasis is placed on perception rather than truth. A perception is when I tell 20 people that Michael Jeh eats babies for breakfast and these people pass that on to another 20 people who pass that on to another 20 people..... If this will sell another cent/penny/rupee of advertising, the media will happily pass it on to another 20 million. The disingenuous of any nationality among us will then use the situation to promote their own prejudices and agendas (another name for "editorial slants"). In all of this two key things are lost: a presumption of innocence until proven otherwise and an unbiased search for the truth. Let's stick to these two principles. Always.

    (I wish to emphasis that I do not believe and have never believed that Michael Jeh eats anything other than wheaties for breakfast).

  • Vinod on December 19, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    Very well written article Michael. As an Indian I find this holier-than-thou attitude of English and Australian cricketers when accused of anything extremely nauseating. I am sure if one of the SL players had done the same thing the Aussie team and most of their media would have been up in arms and I daresay that Chris Broad would not have dismissed the allegations in such an offhand way. Double standards indeed.

  • Jon on December 19, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    Michael you make a very fair point regarding treating allegations of this kind as just that, allegations, until they are completely proved otherwise...regardless of who the player is involved and from what country they come from. Yet there is one part of this story that does need comment and that is the statement made by the Sri Lankan official..."Where you see illegal actions, you must report them". That statement is nothing but inflammatory and does not accord the accused players the right of innocence before being proved guilty. On what proof did he claim 'illegal' actions? None. That statement demanded the response it was given, and rightly so, by Siddle and Clarke for it was deliberately volatile.

  • Kailash on December 19, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    Very well written post! The last paragraph highlighting the difference between a Pakistani bowler and an Australian highlights the current state of affairs in cricket today!

  • Lawton on December 19, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    This incident will be swept under the carpet as ICC as I undersand it stands for Investigators of Coloured Cricketers.

  • Riyas on December 19, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    well said, it would indeed be interesting to see how the Australian media would have reacted if the allegations were against the visting team, though we already know the answer to that dont we?

  • M on December 19, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    So many holes in the logic it's almost impossible to correct.

  • Bill Fone on December 19, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    Not a bad article, except for the fact that we have yet, as I understand it, to see the 'evidence', that prompted the Sri Lankans to complain in the first place, or have I missed something? The video evidence put forward so far,from Channel 9's coverage,seems fairly innocuous to say the very least. Do the Sri Lankans have more evidence or suspicions? Also, as far as I can ascertain, the complaint came from the team manager, not the team members 'on the park'.

    Most of the 'occurrences' as referred to, turn out to be erroneous eventually, and innocent peoples' otherwise good reputations suffer from what can only be described in some cases as mischievous and misleading, to gain an advantage or cause some journalist to run with the so-called facts, or conjour up a 'good story'.

    Cricket's history is littered with mis-truths, plain lies, shady deals, miscarraige of common justice and extreme bloodymindedness on the part of officials. Ask Ian Meckiff about the latter.

  • huh on December 19, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    This is crazy! Sri Lanka accuse Australia of ball tampering but have no evidence. They insinuate its all on the video but dont make an official complaint because "they dont want to offend". Instead they go to the media and complain to them. Yeah right. All we have is some photo showing Peter Siddle, who has no nails and couldnt find the end of a new roll of sticky tape!

    Now Cricinfo in all its Aussie bashing wisdom decide to blame Michael Clarke simply for backing his players.

    Why isnt the spotlight being shone on Sri Lanka and their sour grapes sniping attitude? Why arent they making an official complaint? Why go to media at all?

  • getsetgopk on December 19, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Jeh, you are a fine writer and I thoroughly enjoyed this article. No one should be subjected to discrimination based on the past incidents similarly Siddle words shouldn't be just taken as they are and that nothing has happened. In the past, umpire Emmerson has called Murali a chucker while bowling leg breaks, Inzimam's whole team was labelled cheats and in protest they delayed in coming out on the field and Umpire Hair wasted no time in a forefeature, a match Pak could have won as they had Eng in a corner. There wasn't the slightest bit of evidence on camera (there were 26 of them) that anyone tampered with the ball. A certain Aussie bowler once kicked an opposition batsman in the back in front of the world darn world, an Aussie trying to pick the seam of the ball should be rather easy to accept. By the way, why would one stick his finger nail right into the seam?

  • Thavee on December 19, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    it's not about anything else. It's just the double standards that is been followed by icc. If an Asian player did this, it would have gone a long way and the australian media would have been all over it. In this case however i don't believe that there is enough evidence to prove what siddle did (if he did it) but i hope that this case would end from here and we can go on with the rest of the series without any drama.

  • Jeesh on December 19, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Their spirit of cricket is absolutely poor.

  • Pradeep on December 19, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    This is one the most well written articles (if not the best) I have read this year - in language and content. Brilliant. You should write more.

  • T on December 19, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Its ridiculous how the media aggravates unnecessary issues. I thought that the international sporting events are used to encourage harmony among people and different cultures but unfortunately its otherwise.

  • sameer on December 19, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    are you kidding? did you not see how Clarke played as in the India-Australia test, a while back under Ponting? To term Clarke as a man of honor and always adhering to spirit of cricket is a bit like calling black a darker shade of white!

  • Hammad Khalid on December 19, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    This reminds of the Lords test match between pakistan and england. Without warning the umpires penalized pakistan of ball tampering and awarded 5 runs to the english. Pakistani were rightly hurt and when they came back to resume (after showing their intent for their country) , the match was forfeited. And we had to go on with a huge drama. At first i thought i could have been a simple mistake on the part of the Lankans and these guys dont find excuses for losing . I think lankans are the only people who take their defeats with big hearts. So this could only been a huge mistake.

    but When i saw this sentence of cricinfo, i got very angry with the decision ICC made

    "Peter Siddle was adamant that the video footage of him handling the ball had been misinterpreted"

    meaning there was something which showed the ball tempering,showing the lankans were right and yet he (siddle) easily got away with it. Such a shame to see the bias nature of the ICC and the cricketing world

  • zenboomerang on December 19, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    It is a great pity that writers like you get to represent what is a nation of giving a person a fair go... The twitter photo was just a split image in time & not a video feed - anything can be interpreted from a single image in time, as the media regularly does... As Sidds said in the post Test interview, you could take hundreds of single images of bowlers in their bowling preparation & all "could" be seen as dubious but if you showed the lead-up the complaints are plainly laughable... aka the ICC umpires "nothing to even talk about" answer... Media hype at its worst...

  • Shiv Sree on December 19, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    My thoughts exactly... bravo... hear hear... well said machan.

  • Warren on December 19, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Michael Jeh. I dont believe you are a true Australian. If your allegiance (clearly) lies always with the foreign team (most often asian), then why are you living in Australia? Your views are always biased agaisnt them.

  • Mitcher on December 19, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Michael, I'm 'prepared' to accept that an inkling of an undertone to your words that you don't actually believe the Australian players are telling the truth is simply a mistake on my part. But in seriousness, I 100% agree that ideally foreign media (as in, not from the country of the accused) would cut down on the hyperventilating at every incident. But that seems to be the nature of the discourse these days.

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  • Mitcher on December 19, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Michael, I'm 'prepared' to accept that an inkling of an undertone to your words that you don't actually believe the Australian players are telling the truth is simply a mistake on my part. But in seriousness, I 100% agree that ideally foreign media (as in, not from the country of the accused) would cut down on the hyperventilating at every incident. But that seems to be the nature of the discourse these days.

  • Warren on December 19, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Michael Jeh. I dont believe you are a true Australian. If your allegiance (clearly) lies always with the foreign team (most often asian), then why are you living in Australia? Your views are always biased agaisnt them.

  • Shiv Sree on December 19, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    My thoughts exactly... bravo... hear hear... well said machan.

  • zenboomerang on December 19, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    It is a great pity that writers like you get to represent what is a nation of giving a person a fair go... The twitter photo was just a split image in time & not a video feed - anything can be interpreted from a single image in time, as the media regularly does... As Sidds said in the post Test interview, you could take hundreds of single images of bowlers in their bowling preparation & all "could" be seen as dubious but if you showed the lead-up the complaints are plainly laughable... aka the ICC umpires "nothing to even talk about" answer... Media hype at its worst...

  • Hammad Khalid on December 19, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    This reminds of the Lords test match between pakistan and england. Without warning the umpires penalized pakistan of ball tampering and awarded 5 runs to the english. Pakistani were rightly hurt and when they came back to resume (after showing their intent for their country) , the match was forfeited. And we had to go on with a huge drama. At first i thought i could have been a simple mistake on the part of the Lankans and these guys dont find excuses for losing . I think lankans are the only people who take their defeats with big hearts. So this could only been a huge mistake.

    but When i saw this sentence of cricinfo, i got very angry with the decision ICC made

    "Peter Siddle was adamant that the video footage of him handling the ball had been misinterpreted"

    meaning there was something which showed the ball tempering,showing the lankans were right and yet he (siddle) easily got away with it. Such a shame to see the bias nature of the ICC and the cricketing world

  • sameer on December 19, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    are you kidding? did you not see how Clarke played as in the India-Australia test, a while back under Ponting? To term Clarke as a man of honor and always adhering to spirit of cricket is a bit like calling black a darker shade of white!

  • T on December 19, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Its ridiculous how the media aggravates unnecessary issues. I thought that the international sporting events are used to encourage harmony among people and different cultures but unfortunately its otherwise.

  • Pradeep on December 19, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    This is one the most well written articles (if not the best) I have read this year - in language and content. Brilliant. You should write more.

  • Jeesh on December 19, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Their spirit of cricket is absolutely poor.

  • Thavee on December 19, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    it's not about anything else. It's just the double standards that is been followed by icc. If an Asian player did this, it would have gone a long way and the australian media would have been all over it. In this case however i don't believe that there is enough evidence to prove what siddle did (if he did it) but i hope that this case would end from here and we can go on with the rest of the series without any drama.