Yesterday I sent an email to Cricket Australia:
At a bare minimum, Sutherland, Lehmann, Smith and Warner must be fired, and not just from their position in the case of the players, but from the team. None of them is fit to wear or represent my colours. Now in my 73rd year, I have never been so ashamed of my country.
Here are my reasons for that call.
Sometimes people make mistakes and then their reaction shows that they were not up to the job. That goes for you, Smith, Warner and Lehmann.
It also goes for the Prime Minister. He said: ‘Our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play.’ Each of those propositions is pure moonshine, and has been so for forty years – ever since Mr Packer started shelling out lucre to his hired darlings. And he only got the chance because your predecessors treated our players like medieval serfs. They sowed the wind. Now you reap the whirlwind. And what sane parents would want their children to model themselves on David Warner?
You should resign or be fired because you have presided over and are therefore responsible for the decline in standards in our national sport for nearly a generation. Money – from Mr Packer and now India – has become king and you have allowed those who claim to represent us to be corrupted by it. You have allowed the horses to take over the stable. Your response yesterday was, I regret to say, wholly in character – vapid. I also have no idea why you had to send two people to get the facts. Do we send teams overseas without putting some reliable proconsul in charge of them?
Smith and Warner have admitted cheating. They have brought disgrace upon the whole of my country. Yet their callous arrogance and wilful inanity show just how poisoned our Test cricketers have become. This disaster at Cape Town is just the final step in the process of corruption that started with Mr Packer and was perfected on the subcontinent – where these brats coin millions by moonlighting. And there is more than a whiff of cowardice in their decision to deploy a young bunny and then say that it was the idea of the seasoned players.
Nor can I understand what logic would conclude that although the guilty parties may be entrusted with my colours as players, they should not be so trusted in a position of responsibility. When they merely pull on my jumper, they take a position of mighty responsibility. To give them some but not all trust would be like saying that a dope-cheat in cycling or weightlifting may be trusted after taking a holiday. These cheats have forfeited their trust, and I will not give it back to them. I will not support a side that has either of them in it in any capacity.
Lehmann should resign or be fired because he has been in charge of and therefore responsible for the morale and morals of our team over the period of its worst decline. On this incident, he has the Volkswagen problem. He either knew or he didn’t. Either way, he’s gone. For what it’s worth, it’s been a long time since I saw a man look so guilty.
We will need more than one generation to get over this. I will be long gone. I agree with Jeff Kennett. ‘A disgrace of the first order. All involved should be banned from international cricket for life. Australia’s sporting reputation demands immediate response from CA.’ Painful surgery is immediately required to start the process of healing. If that means that we may field an inferior team, we have brought that on ourselves, and we will get the needed reminder that winning is not everything. That attitude, and the dollar, are what have landed us in this very visible gutter.
And I have the clear view that nothing short of these sackings will serve to ease the outrage being felt across this nation.