Major League Baseball is underway with a new season, but another game with bats and balls has captured attention around the Asia-Pacific. A cricket scandal involving Australia’s national team is the topic of news and social media from Sydney to New Delhi. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
If you don’t know anything about cricket, no worries—this story is about cheating. Three players on Australia’s national team plotted to break the rules against South Africa.
The way the Australian Broadcasting Corporation tells it, the team’s vice-captain David Warner suggested to a junior player, Cameron Bancroft that he tamper with the cricket ball — scuff it up a little bit with some sandpaper.
Team captain Steve Smith went along with the plan—word is the three of them talked about it over lunch.
Umpires suspected something was amiss. But Bancroft stuffed the sandpaper down his pants, and showed umpires a piece of cloth, saying that’s what he used on the ball, which would have been legal.
But television cameras captured what really happened, and the scandal was on.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called the incident a “shocking affront to Australia;” a “terrible disgrace” that has “bitterly disappointed the whole nation.”
Smith and Warner have been banned from the sport for a year—Bancroft has been barred for nine months.
The junior player was also dropped from an English team he was going to play with this summer. The two senior players have been dumped from India’s professional cricket league, whose season is about to open.
Smith was going to be captain of the Rajasthan Royals, while Warner was set to head the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Both will surrender their salaries in the Indian league – about 2-million U.S. dollars. Apiece.