Opinion: Waugh had cricketing giants, Smith just has pampered pretty boys

Fielder throws cricket ball in

Jonhenry Wilson examines the differences between the all-conquering Australian Test side led by Steve Waugh to the current generation of "superstars".

It has been a crazy week in the world of cricket. Two months ago Australia and England were facing up to each other in the Ashes, the most recognised and prestigious head-to-head in the game. This week England were rumbled by New Zealand for a pathetic 58 runs. But Australia collapsed in even more spectacular fashion at Newlands a couple of days later as they lost 10 wickets for 50 runs.

Yet despite these horrendous collapses, it's not what has the world of cricket abuzz with a frisson that hasn't been felt for a very long time. Because neither the speed nor spectacle of Australia's second innings collapse on Sunday can rival the nature of their loss of face following the ball tampering expose that began unravelling on Saturday and which continues to do so at an alarming rate. 

Because what we are seeing at the moment on the back of Steve Smith's loss of moral compass is a betrayal of trust and a loss of innocence that's akin to the fraud perpetuated by Lance Armstrong and his friends or by Hansie Cronje and his cronies.

Australia, for so long a dominant force in cricket, have always been able to back up their talk with a swaggering walk. Steve Waugh introduced the concept of mental disintegration, a brutal verbal and psychological battle that was waged by his charges in the heat of battle. It was fierce and sustained and it was the icing on the cake of a cricketing assault that boasted the best bowlers and batsmen in the world.

But the Australia of Steve Smith is a very different one to that of Waugh. Where the latter's team was packed with giants of the game, the former's is a distinctly average bunch of pampered pretty boys who are decidedly lacking in both brains and grit. And so they resorted to cheating to try and ensure that the vitriol of their words had more basis than the bravado of bullies. But bullies are what they are and they have been cruelly exposed.

Saturday was the first day that concrete evidence of cheating was exposed, but it won't be long before the full extent of the cheating is uncovered. There is no way that this bunch of cricketing Lance Armstrongs were so inept that they were caught the first time they tried it on with some dodgy antics. It's safe to say that this is something that's been on the go since Smith first realised Nathan Lyon was no Shane Warne or that Josh Hazlewood wasn't quite a Glenn McGrath.

To keep winning, their strategy wasn't to work harder and apply themselves more, their strategy was to cheat. And that is why there is such outrage. It is not about an isolated incident one Saturday at Newlands, it is about a rotten culture that has festered and which, when discovered, has been covered up and blatantly lied about in what could potentially be described as a team-wide conspiracy. 

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.

Click here to follow us on Twitter for live updates, sporting previews, fixtures, and results.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

Bet now on cricket

Register now and start betting on Durban July Horse Racing