The International Cricket Council has declared “enough is enough” when it comes to cheating being discovered.
In a strongly-worded statement, ICC CEO Dave Richardson instructed full-member Test-playing countries to employ specialist cheating coaches in a bid to cover up illegal play more thoroughly and professionally.
In the wake of the ball-tampering saga in South Africa, cricket’s ruling body has also promised to conduct a wide-ranging review into how it punishes teams for using poor cheating concealment techniques.
Richardson labelled the current climate “one of the worst periods of cheating being uncovered and televised in recent memory” and promised his organisation will reset the standards of deception that all teams must follow.
“It is of great embarrassment to the ICC that incidents of cheating in cricket are being noticed more frequently,” wrote a clearly peeved Richardson. “We have seen a number of incidents of sloppy concealment in recent years, which have included ball tampering on several occasions, along with spot fixing and match fixing.”
“Ball tampering has been around for 100 years. It’s fine… as long as nobody knows about it.”
“But when scandals become public, they rock world cricket, and the impact causes us in the ICC to spill our martinis on our silk bathrobes. The cleaning staff at the ‘massage parlours’ here in Dubai are becoming very annoyed with us.”
“Enough is enough. It has to stop. The ICC is here to make money and appear to keep world cricket honest, not to actually keep it honest. From now on, instead of turning a blind eye or handing out token punishments, we will be cracking down hard on teams that get discovered cheating and rewarding those who cover it up the way we expect.”
The ICC is reported to be especially ticked off that Cricket Australia’s sanctions for Australian players Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were vastly more severe than its own. “12 months for Smith and Warner as opposed to our sentence of one Test for Smith alone,” wrote Richardson. “Add to that they (Cricket Australia) conducted a proper investigation into the matter. Then there were all the performances of CEO James Sutherland trying to appear honest and upstanding. It simply won’t do.”
“This latest shitstorm began because the players involved were so poorly coached that they forgot there were 30 cameras covering the cricket field. Then Bancroft stuffed the sandpaper down his pants. What is this? Amateur hour?”
“But it’s their own fault. Cricket Australia got complacent about keeping cheating hidden. Then they were forced to use that desperate moralistic ‘spirit of the game’ bullshit as cover.”
“The spirit of cricket is a deliberately nebulous cover story for our sport because it is intrinsically linked with the entire pretence of good behaviour. Ignorant fans lap this crap up, so we must protect the charade.”
“Cricket Australia should have followed the outstanding example of Cricket South Africa when they swept Faf du Plessis’ two instances of ball tampering under the rug and promoted him to captain. He has since learned greater skills in this area. CSA’s is a model of inactivity, corruption and arrogance that continues to set the standard for modern cricket administrators.”
The ICC’s review will be conducted by its Cricket Committee as well as a panel of the sport’s greatest cheats including du Plessis, Stuart Broad, Muttiah Muralitharan, Arjuna Ranatunga, Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Lou Vincent, Chris Cairns, Saleem Malik, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sreesanth.
Unofficial sources have also claimed off the record that the committee may even conduct a seance to tap the wisdom and experience of former South African captain Hansie Cronje, who was banned for life for match fixing before his death in a mysterious plane crash.
“While most of these people were caught for cheating,” stated Richardson, “the experience they gained is invaluable to how modern players can cover up their illicit activities.”
“Furthermore, we need to be clear about what acceptable concealment is – and what isn’t – and what the appropriate sanctions are when players breach the code,” he said. “Part of the process will include teams employing specialist cheating coaches in a bid to deter complacency.”
“Nothing is out of bounds with this review and we have a responsibility to shape how the spirit of cricket is ignored in the 21st century.”
by John Newell