Sandpapergate seemed to have started disappearing after Warner’s exemplary performance for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Steve Smith on the other end of the scale. Then came Durham’s announcement that Cameron Bancroft will captain Durham. If that was not enough Bancroft will miss the opening game for Durham in addition to the preseason game. Alexander Lees was named as the captain of Durham for the preseason game. To make matters worse Mark Taylor has raised issues about the investigations of Cricket Australia into the incident. The Australian bowlers released a statement saying that the claims that they refused to play unless Warner was banned are causing another controversy. I do not think I will ever change my opinion that the Aussie bowlers had no idea of the state of the ball. The whole issue was handled extremely badly. The Mankad issue not only raised the issue of The Spirit of Cricket but people raised the issue about what kind of example that would set for children. This article at Silly Point Cricket deals with setting an example. What I want to deal with is how Sunrisers Hyderabad handled the whole fiasco and the aftermath.
Sunrisers Hyderabad took the decision to replace Warner with Williamson. Williamson had a freak injury in the last Test of the season. Williamson did a brilliant job as a captain last year. Sunrisers could have easily decided to reinstate Warner as captain this year. They chose to go with Bhuvneshwar Kumar instead. Similarly Rajasthan Royal did not reinstate Steve Smith as captain. The reason I am focussing on Sunrisers is that they have done extremely well. Warner has the most number of runs at the time of writing this. They also currently top the table. The interesting thing is both Sunrisers and Rajasthan Royals have welcomed Warner and Smith. More importantly, the fans have accepted them too. Having the support of the fans and management is absolutely crucial. This is in complete contrast to Durham. Durham was brave to sign Bancroft after the controversy. Making him a captain was extremely risky. Having Marcus North and James Franklin support him was very brave. However, Bancroft has made a big mistake by not being available. I can understand if he was playing a game but this is to attend an end of season awards. I have no idea why Cricket Australia and Western Australia have forced him to attend the awards? Is this part of his rehabilitation? If it is then will it make a substantial difference? Would it have been better for him to attend an award ceremony or for him to get runs under his belt? This whole episode has left a bad taste in County Cricket. I do not know who is to blame for this but the fact is that there will be an impact on English cricket.
People can raise their game or fail because of captaincy. I hope Lees and Poynter play. I really would like Poynter to get match practice so that he would be able to do well in their Test against England. This is, of course, assuming that Bancroft keeps. Durham opens their campaign against Derbyshire. I am looking forward to that game.
As always I look forward to your comments.