The cricketing world is reeling from the shockwave caused when, on Saturday, an Australian cricketer was caught red-handed in the act of ball-tampering at Newlands in Cape Town and then captain Steve Smith succumbed from a 'brain fade' moment to a brain explosion by admitting that the leadership group conspired to tamper with the ball using a foreign object in the ongoing Test against South Africa.
The admission mocked the famous baggy green motto of playing 'hard but fair' cricket and voices have been raised that this evil practice should be stopped on grounds of 'ethical immorality'.
Cricketers around the world are deploring the incident – represented by the well-documented image of Cameron Bancroft shoving a sticky yellow tape (or sandpaper as popularly advertised) down his pants. It is quite natural that among those are not any of our cricketing heroes, whose voices are also important because it is not just an issue confronting Australia but cricket as a whole.
Bangladesh's inspirational ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza acknowledged that it is a grave issue. Bangladesh's finest ever pace bowler said however that he was always against the word 'morally ethical'.
“The ICC laws clearly define what we can do and what we can't. So, what happened in South Africa was against the law first and then against the spirit of the game. It's a shame and Smith is certainly going through a tough time at the moment. But at the same time if you flaunt the law you will be punished,” Mashrafe told The Daily Star last night.
Asked if it is also warning for others, including Bangladesh, in an age when even a needle is exposed to those electronic eyes, Mashrafe said: “I have been playing cricket for over two decades; I have always been fair. We now have two captains for three different formats and as far as my leadership is concerned I have always inspired my team to play within the laws of the game.”
He also said that the nature of the wickets -- mostly flat nowadays -- is perhaps promoting that unlawful practice, especially for those teams who want to win at any cost.
The experienced Bangladesh campaigner however found little to be optimistic about the change of attitude towards the game in general.
“People are creating a lot of noise at the moment. The culprits will be punished and after some time it will be business as usual,” said the 34-year-old.
He however reiterated his firm stance of abiding by the law, something he believes can solve so many on-field problems.
“The ICC law not only bans any foreign objects or nails to tamper with the ball. It also states that you can't throw it hard on the ground to take undue advantage. I think if we follow the rules we can guarantee fair play,” Mashrafe signed off.