Expert highlights wider implications of the Australian cricket scandal

Cricket has an elevated place in Australian culture, and the ball tampering scandal that has engulfed the men’s team in South Africa could have far-reaching implications for the game and its position in wider society according to Emeritus Professor David Rowe, from the Institute for Culture and Society, author of Sport, Culture and the Media: The Unruly Trinity and other works about sport’s place in society.  

"Catching senior Australian cricketers in the act of cheating has exposed its dark underbelly. Cricket, despite being highly commercialised, still trades on its reputation stemming from the amateur, colonial era as a refined, gentlemanly game,” says Emeritus Professor Rowe.  

“The exposure of ruthless, unethical behavior in pursuit of sporting success by any means necessary is a repudiation of the much-vaunted spirit of cricket that gives the kind of respectability that led former Australian Prime Minister John Howard to describe the men’s Australian cricket captaincy as ‘really the pinnacle of human achievement almost, in Australia,’. Similarly, current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reflected yesterday that the wearers of the Baggy Green are held in much higher regard than politicians.

“The prestige attached to the senior men’s game, especially at Test level (itself something of an anachronism), is necessarily damaged by cheating, psychological warfare and the uglier forms of sledging. In losing the moral superiority that it claims to have over other sports, cricket, ironically, is weakening its economic position regarding media rights and sponsorship, and eroding the widespread affection with which it is held across the country.”


26 March 2018

Emma Sandham, Senior Media Officer.