Cricket fans are celebrating another amazingly successful rearguard action by the England cricket team in Cape Town tonight. And I can understand why. Its the second test match in three where England have been comprehensively outplayed, and yet avoided what looked like certain defeat. Two draws that felt like victories. Justification for celebrations. And yet, there is a nasty taste in the mouth, following a pretty clear attempt by two England players to cheat.
Listening to snatched commentary on the car radio, the actions of Stuart Broad and James Anderson in attempting to alter the ball improperly was not being taken very seriously. Geoff Boycott thought it not a particularly serious issue - and he's a knowledgeable fellow. But Michael Vaughan's article in today's Telegraph changes things. Vaughan is a much respected recent England captain who knows what's going on. Here are a few quotes;
"They were lucky to get away without an official reprimand - even a ban"
"Stuart Broad has been stopping the ball with his boot all the way through the series."
"If this had been a game involving Pakistan, and Shoaib Akhtar or Mohammad Asif had been....there would have been an uproar."
"As it is Anderson is a lucky man".
These are very serious charges. Its just not cricket. If it had been South Africa, can you just imagine what our sports pages would be proclaiming. Personally, I think all this takes 'the shine' off what would otherwise have been a great result.