The Australian cricket team is dead to me.
Shouty, potty mouthed Dave Warner and his antics looks tame at the moment.
In these crazy topsy turvy times, when who’s to know what’s right and wrong, tampering with the cricket ball to give your out-played team an advantage is black and white wrong.
Whoever put opener Cameron Bancroft up to tampering with the ball during the current Test against South Africa needs to be sacked. And if that’s the whole of the senior group then let them go. Bancroft is an eight-gamer and about as wobbly an inclusion in the Test as a Shane Watson delivery, so he was going to be the patsy for sure.
Bringing your kit bag to the dressing room takes on new meaning. Next time bring your tool kit! Not only do we need gloves and pads, but sandpaper – anything abrasive actually.
What next? A Black and Decker cordless so we can drill a few holes in the ball in the outfield while the big screen is distracting everyone?
At least the furore around this shows that when it comes to things that we think matter, cheating is still something that has moral sting.
Like Mark Zuckerberg and the data-mining Facebook allowed, Australian Test captain, Steve Smith seems contrite only when underhanded ways are exposed.
But if he’d gotten away with it? If the ball had suddenly been shooting all over the place, nipping back, taking wickets and causing havoc with no one any the wiser?
Then it would be beers and team song in the dressing room late on day five, led by the very man – or men – who had sanctioned the action.
Perhaps the exposure and shame is a little reminder that there is never an audience of one for any crime, misdemeanour or peccadillo.
And the ever roving TV camera or the social media site that seems to know everything about you, is a mere foretaste of what Hebrews 4 says:
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
It’s almost hard to believe that one day Steve Smith will stand before his Creator and have to give account for all of his actions, including covering up cheating in a cricket match with money and fame on the line. And he will be found guilty of making Cameron Bancroft culpable too.
Does that sound stupid to you? With eyes fixed only on this age, it sounds incredibly stupid. But what if there is more than this age – what if there is an age to come?
Then this thought should make us tremble and realise that for each of us, our own sins great and small, will one day be held accountable to God. Everything “laid bare before his eyes”; eyes that make TV cameras or social media sites look blind. It’s a sobering thought to realise there is never an audience of one, and that the One who sees everything, sees everything!
And it makes me realise that our only hope is the message that we proclaim next weekend to the world, that Christ died for the ungodly; the perverts, the self-righteous, the thieves, the wife-beaters, the successful who ignore him, the good living types who look down on others, the ball-tamperers of international sport.
The Australian cricket team is dead to me, but not to Jesus. Easter reminds us there is yet hope for Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and the rest of them, and it’s not to be found in a series victory.