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Aussie cricket on the mend

Twelve months ago Australian cricket was in crisis, rocked to the core by a cheating scandal that left former captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner among the most vilified men in sport.

But against the odds it has turned a corner, with the shattered national team in form again and winning back fans under new coach Justin Langer after a clean out of the executive ranks.

For the disgraced Smith and Warner, it has been a tumultuous and humbling year, marked by a torrent of vitriol, tearful apologies, community service and the slow process of winning back trust.

Today will mark the end of their one-year bans from state and international cricket and they are set to be welcomed back with open arms.

The “sandpapergate” scandal in Cape Town, which also saw rookie opener Cameron Bancroft exiled for nine months for attempting to alter the ball, triggered far-reaching consequences for Australian cricket.

Then-coach Darren Lehmann quit and all the top brass from Cricket Australia (CA) left after a scathing review said their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture was partly to blame for players bending the rules.

The game in Australia has since undergone a host of cultural changes under Langer, who infamously called the team of old “spoilt brats” and vowed to “put smiles on faces rather than everyone throwing stones at each other”.

It has been a drawn-out process with the team suffering a series of humbling defeats without their top two batsmen before finally finding their feet again.

Despite the progress, some pundits believe questions remain about the tampering issue.

Former captains Mark Taylor and Ian Chappell and wicketkeeping great Ian Healy have all criticised the limited investigation by Cricket Australia, which focused only on Cape Town.

source:the herald

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