MANY view the ICC as a gutless governing body that fails to adequately uphold the laws of the game.

And those shouts were heard loud and clear as recently as last week when world cricket's supreme entity allowed the two-match Test ban of South African bowler Kagiso Rabada to be overturned on appeal despite prior form when it comes to sledging and making contact with opposition players.

But when it comes to the Steve Smith ball tampering scandal the ICC got the punishment just right.

The stood down Australian captain copped a one-match Test ban and was fined 100 per cent of his match fee overnight after Australia's batting order capitulated to South Africa on day four to lose the Cape Town Test.

Steve Smith faces an uncertain future as fallout from the ball tampering scandal continues. Picture: Nasief Manie/WP Media
Steve Smith faces an uncertain future as fallout from the ball tampering scandal continues. Picture: Nasief Manie/WP Media

The Smith ban is relatively in line with past similar ball tampering offences.

Pakistan's Shahid Afridi was banned from two Twenty20 internationals in 2010 after being found guilty of biting the ball and chewing the seam.

South African players have also been prolific ball tamperers with captain Faf du Plessis found guilty not once, but twice, of trying to alter the ball.

He was fined 50 per cent of his match fee during a 2013 Test for rubbing the ball on a zipper and copped a further 100 per cent match fee fine in 2016 when caught on camera sucking on mints before using his saliva to shine the ball.

And let us not forget South Africa paceman Vernon Philander losing 75 per cent of his match fee in a 2014 Test against Sri Lanka for using his thumb to scratch the surface of the ball.

Cameron Bancroft tries to hide evidence of ball tampering at Cape Town.
Cameron Bancroft tries to hide evidence of ball tampering at Cape Town.

In comparison to other ball tamperers Smith's punishment could even be viewed as harsh.

But the issue for Australians isn't the ball tampering, a crime the ICC has now dealt with.

The real issue at the heart of the whole sorry mess is how the idea to cheat was concocted and carried out.

Australians loathe cheating. We would rather be thumped with honour than stoop to the level other countries have no qualms about.

Australia is angry at the act of cheating. Australia is angry at the cold premeditation involved with the cheating. Australia is angry that relative newcomer Cameron Bancroft was put up to the task rather than Smith having the guts to do the dirty work himself. And Australia is angry that when caught out, Smith threw half the team under the bus.

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland addressed the media yesterday but not everyone liked what they heard.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland addressed the media yesterday but not everyone liked what they heard.

The ICC might have gotten its punishment right but the saga is not yet over.

All eyes turn now to Cricket Australia and James Sutherland to see if cricket's peak national body will do what the ICC could not.

Australia is demanding justice for damage done to a once proud sporting culture.

The nation didn't just trust Smith to lead Australia to victory on the cricket pitch, the nation trusted him to uphold the very spirit and tradition of the game.

The moment Smith convened a meeting to hatch the ball tampering plan he forfeited his right to lead our national team.

The ICC has honoured its part of the deal. Now it's time for Cricket Australia to do the same.



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