The recent ball tampering scandal involving Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft during the 3rd test match between South Africa and Australia have shocked cricket fans around the world. Though such things are not new, everyone was shocked to see live footage on tv screen. Australian Cameron Bancroft was caught red-handed in the act. He tried to hide his crime but till then it was too late.
Steve tried to save Bancroft by naming leadership group which involves him and vice Captain David Warner. But as wise people said – one thing leads to other; same happened here too.
The team got humiliating defeat in the 3rd test. Both Smith and Warner were asked to resign. They were told to return to Australia. A ban of one year was also imposed on them. Smith got humiliated during his journey back to Australia. Chief Coach Lehman has to resign despite getting clearance from Cricket Australia.
It was a fall from grace to grass
Within a short span of time years of hard-earned credibility and reputation was gone. Though they have a chance to return to mainstream international cricket after one year; life will not remain same for them. It will be a tremendous task to again rise from grass to grace.
While talking about ball tampering incident, master blaster Sachin Tendulkar rightly said –
The winning is important.
But the way you win is more important.
Ball Tampering Scandal – Steve Smith learnt the lesson hard way
Before this incident, Steve Smith was one of the most respectful players. A sensational player who often got compared with great Don Bradman for his 60+ average in test cricket. His leadership was praised by everyone; only until Steve Smith lost for his quest of winning at any cost. It was a leadership failure for a person who has just conquered Ashes by defeating England at home by a margin of 4-0.
Though now it is claimed that in Ashes too Steve and company might have cheated. As of now, these are just allegation. Only investigations can tell the truth.
His acceptance of cheating has caused a great loss to him, his team, his country and Cricket. A hard-earned reputation for years was gone within a moment. For a man of his stature, it was like free fall from the sky to land. He learnt the lessons of life in a hard way.
1. Success is not just about winning
It is the most important lesson we learnt from ball tampering incident. Steve and company tried to maintain their winning streak by cheating. They were careful in their approach only until they were not caught by vigilant eyes of tv cameras. This one incident was enough to question all their past successes. Though Steve claimed it as a 1st incident, no one believed him. He lost his credibility as the honest player and so did his country. They were tagged as the cheater.
2. Leadership is about taking the right decision, showing the right path to your team
Every person at a leadership position; be working in a corporate house or in a sports team can take his company or team to new horizons by guiding and mentoring them in the right direction. Leader’s work is to motivate his teammates during a hard time. In his quest to win; Steve Smith failed here terribly. He not only took the wrong path, he almost spoiled the carrier of a junior player by involving him in this scandal act. He choked as a leader by naming David Warner too in the scandal.
3. It takes years to build a reputation but moments to destroy it
Leadership is about building the reputation not just for yourself but for your team too. Leadership can be directly proportional to winning success. But one should always remember that path taken is more important than winning. We have the example of leaders who have won many battles, ruled the world but they are hated because of their tactics during those wins.
Despite being strongest team, Steve and company opted for an easy but a wrong route. Though they were known for sledging and dominating opponents by playing mind games; this was not the thing they were known for. Once they were caught; their credibility, reputation was gone.
4. Wrong decision not only impacts you. It impacts your family too.
Watching Steve’s father condolence him on stage was a sad sight. Upcoming time will be hard for each of them. Families will be bullied for their son’s actions.
Life teaches us lessons in hardest way. And we hope that Smith and company has learnt their lessons. Now they need to reciprocate. We hope soon they will come back much more stronger and wiser.