Most of this is prompted by the ball-tampering row currently going on in England’s Test series against South Africa, but it is applicable to all sports. At all times.
Do not cheat. Even if you think you can get away with it, do not cheat. Hell, even if you know you can get away with it, do not cheat. Why not? Because it’s wrong.
You play a game. The game has rules. Among these rules, perhaps, is something about how you’re not allowed to gouge great strips of leather off the ball with your fingernail. If you do this and are caught, you may be banned, etc. Easy solution? Don’t do it.
It is mystifying how this sort of thing ever seems like a good idea, especially now. There are great masses of cameras and cameramen, ready to leap on anything. People can review footage. YouTube can review footage. You can go from hero to zero in no time.
Also? Cheating is wrong.
By definition. Not only is it against the rules (again, by definition), but it is dishonest and makes you a big, fat weasel. And not the good kind, that’s cunning. The bad kind, that smells.
Yes, of course these men want to win. Otherwise they wouldn’t play. But the kind of world that produces men who don’t mind cheating to win at cricket, well, that’s not the right kind.
(I haven’t seen the footage of Stuart Broad or Jimmy Anderson. I hope they haven’t cheated. I also, moreover, think that if any complaint is made, it should be official. Absent an official complaint, South Africa have put England in the unenviable position of looking guilty while being unable to prove innocence. This, too, is squirrelly. But it is still not remotely as squirrelly as ball-tampering. So you better not have, lads.)