Who’s ready for some elite honesty? Or rather, who isn’t? Well, Shane Warne for one, “Vomit-worthy,” he said.
Welcome to series three of “Australia: After the Tampering.” Of course, one should not necessarily revel in the misfortune of others; the Baggy Greens, the self-anointed bearers of the game’s moral compass, have witnessed first-hand what can occur when karma sprinkles itself all over South African television cameras.
Strictly speaking, one might view this upcoming home encounter with India as something closer to the fifth or sixth reincarnation of an Australia side previously so boorishly brash that even Brisbane’s Courier Mail, a newspaper that fully endorsed a verbal attack on Stuart Broad, described them as a national disgrace.
However, to reclaim custody of “the line” so often spoken of by Darren Lehmann’s mob, Cricket Australia has been forced to soak up the brutal facts of an independent review. For external eyes, it read beautifully and has led to more resignations than the Conservative cabinet. Carried out by the aptly named Ethics Centre, fittingly – and unsurprisingly – the cultural review found nothing remotely ethical. Akin to searching Esther McVey for empathy, there were few positives to come from the findings.
“Arrogant and controlling”, “winning without counting the costs”, “a gilded bubble”, “bully tactics”, “ostracising” – a litany of what the rest of us already knew, but lovely nonetheless to have in writing.
For those camped on the inside of a sporting body obsessed with clinging to the moral high ground, the blindfold of ignorance was not so much removed as punched off. If there were ICC ranking points for appearing whiter than white, for pertaining to be holier than thou, Australia would scarcely have been troubled, with the follow-on enforced on any side to even question the merits of David Warner’s puppy-dog eyes.
Chief executive James Sutherland had already departed by this point, before David Peever, the chairman and the very personification of embattlement, finally lost grip on a role he had clung to like toddler to a bottle. Lehmann, of course, a man who, like the Courier Mail, told Aussie fans to make Broad cry, then sobbed his own way through a resignation speech. Once again, karma and its unfailing ability to surprise. Mark Taylor, the former captain and Cricket Australia director, became the next to fall by the wayside as the governing body began to resemble some curious ode to Big Brother’s culling.
In truth, it’s fairly tough to be overly sympathetic. But what happens next will certainly be of interest. With Justin Langer – once derided as his team’s ‘bus driver’ at the helm – the wheels have not exactly felt sturdy. It does all make the start of this Australian summer fairly vital for a team in need of fans like never before.
However, after a time where winning at all costs was the norm, Australia could do with a win or two on the field to alleviate well, you know, everything else. Though, failing that, at least the honesty is elite.