My article last week regarding the ball tampering incident in South Africa, provided me with some interesting feedback over the weekend.

While standing in the main street of where I live, I had a phone call from a friend who asked me for my opinion on the “Steve Smith Affair”. His view was that Steve Smith should be rubbed out of sport for life. I found this interesting because this was coming from a person who was involved with the gambling industry and who openly admits he sees the ‘desperates’ as his prey. Well, we all have our different standards. His business may destroy families, but Steve Smith should be rubbed out for life.

Whilst taking this phone call, I had a tap on the shoulder from an old client and friend. He’s a South African who has lived in Australia for a number of years. He suggested that we have coffee, which I happily consented to.

He enquired what the conversation was about and I advised him that it was a discussion regarding somebody touching another person’s cricket ball. We had a long conversation about the Bancroft ball tampering incident, where we had slightly different views.

He said something which many people say about Australian culture. He said, “I don’t understand why you Australians love to destroy your achievers.” He said that, “our South Africans would have gathered around the boys who made the error and found a way to defend their action. Yes, somebody would have been punished, but our South Africans would never have allowed others to punish our own.

Let’s have a look at people who have committed similar offences:

  • Mike Atherton, Captain of England, penalty? Nothing;
  • Sachin Tendulkar, Indian Cricket God. Penalty? 0;
  • Faf du Plessis, Current Captain of South Africa, ball tampered twice. His penalty? one match penalty each time; and
  • One Pakistani bit the cricket ball. His penalty? 1 match.

Whilst the rest of the world protect their own, and the punishments vary between nothing and 1 match, Smith, Warner and Bancroft cop a significant penalty of twelve and nine months respectively.

We often refer to ‘tall poppy syndrome’. It appears to be much worse than that! Although we have all sinned, Australians believe they have the right to throw a boulder at anyone else who has breached. It is an Australian sport and pastime that we destroy anyone who is successful.

The great rugby league coach Jack Gibson once said, “If we spend our lives destroying the heroes, we are a society certainly going down the drain.” If this country continues to bash up everyone who is successful and overreact to their errors, we will have no heroes. Why be one? You are only going to lose out in the end.

Australia is the lucky country, but only if you are mediocre.

This article was written by Bailey Compton, Principal Solicitor & Director at Leverage Group.

To get in touch with Bailey, please email