Worst day ends with worst subject

Neil Manthorp – 27/12/2001

South Africa may have endured their worst day on the field since arriving in Australia – and there have been a few – at the MCG on Thursday and it didn’t get any better once they could finally get off the field, either.

Half an hour after stumps were drawn on a day which almost certainly saw South Africa’s chances of winning the series disappear, they were addressed in the changing room by two gentlemen from the ICC. Two very important gentlemen.

Malcolm Gray and Malcolm Speed are both Australian and they hold many aspects of the future of the game in their hands as President and chief executive of the game’s international ruling body.

The two Malcolms addressed Shaun Pollock’s battered team on the subject of match-fixing and it’s ultimate eradication from the sport. Involving the players in the process is felt to be the best way to educate them and not alienate them from the process.

Amongst several topics for conversation was the proposed artwork for a selection of posters due to be dispersed around the cricket playing world with slogans such as “stamp out corruption” on them.

Several designs have been prepared and the players are being used as a sounding board for what is acceptable and what is not. The men will speak to all 10 Test nations before the project goes ahead.

The Australian team were the first to be consulted and they rejected two proposed posters – one of an anonymous player having a wad of dollars stuffed into his cricket whites on the way onto the field and the other of a players arm accepting cash.

The arm was not white. You can be sure Pollock and his men will also veto such an unsubtle, insensitive image.

But the whole process, necessary as it is, would have been the last thing a gutted, bruised SA XI would have felt like after such a miserable day on the field.

They will have to dig deeper into their resources of willpower than any South African team in living memory to stay in the Test and the series. Most people in Melbourne have already written them off.

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