So then. What do you reckon? The Evening Standard has suggested that Cricket Australia has quietly reached out to several English counties about the possibility of signing their three disgraced stars. The details are sketchy, and there’s no guarantee it will happen, but it seems there have been discussions behind the scenes.
I’d be interested to know what everyone thinks of this news. It’s a classic case of whether you put your club’s interests first or those of the game in general. I have to admit that the prospect of Smith returning to New Road this summer, a move which would raise our chances of staying in division one significantly, is certainly appealing. However, I’d also feel slightly sick if my club did something so brazenly self-interested.
Although I feel the punishments dished out to the three cheats was somewhat harsh – I would have banned them for five to seven tests myself – I couldn’t agree with Worcestershire (or any other county) signing these disgraced stars. Firstly it wouldn’t be a good look. They’ve had their IPL deals cancelled so why should an English county step in to give them meaningful employment? I’m not sure about you, but a world in which IPL franchises have higher moral standards than traditional English counties is not one I want to contemplate.
Secondly, and most importantly, the bans given to Smith, Bancroft and Warner were so long because Cricket Australia wanted the punishment to be a deterrent. This deterrent would be completely undermined if they had some time away from the limelight whilst still enjoying a healthy income courtesy of a desperate English county. It just doesn’t sit well with me. If Eric Cantona had been loaned out to Inter Milan while serving his ban for kung-fu kicking a mouthy Crystal Palace fan then it would have completely defeated the object of the ban.
However, despite my objections, I perfectly understand why others might feel differently to me. Perhaps you’re one of them? If so please feel free to challenge my view in the comments below. I promise I won’t come round and rough you up … with sandpaper or anything else.