A True Start Report into the ball tampering incident has unveiled an overwhelming lack of faith in the Australian Test team amongst the general public.
An online survey with 500 members of the Australian general population (18yrs+) was run from midday 27th to the 28th March 2018. The findings suggest it may take years for Cricket Australia to restore faith in the test team after Cameron Bancroft admitted to tampering with the ball. Of grave concern is that only 13% of the general public believe that this was the first incident of ball tampering under Steve Smith's captaincy despite his assertions to the contrary. Nearly half (46%) do not believe him and a further 40% don't know what to think.
There is a lot of uncertainty amongst Australians around who was involved, and why on earth this happened. However, there are some things they do know: they do not want Steve Smith to captain again, his leadership is finished. However, they will support him wearing the baggy green in the future but only after a reasonable ban.
However, if Cricket Australia persist with Darren Lehmann as coach it will be going against the wishes of the majority of Australians - only 13% want him to remain as coach for this series and half want him to either resign or be permanently removed as coach. This feeling is even more deeply held amongst dollar paying fans:
This is an emotional issue, and while in the grand scheme of things just a sporting issue, two thirds of Australians believe it is important. This is not surprising since a large proportion believe it not only affects Australia’s cricketing reputation but the reputation of other Australian sporting teams, the legacy of past Australian test teams (is it any wonder that so many past test captains are speaking out) and Australia’s overall reputation outside of sport.
Cricket is at the heart of sport in Australia and sport is part of how Australians define themselves on the international stage. Rebuilding the love for the institution of cricket is something Australians must hope Cricket Australia is able to achieve.