With the third test between Australia and India about to get underway in Perth Western Australia, the focus has sadly shifted from the game ahead to the fact that the WACA Ground staff were caught on the pitch having a beer the evening before the test. This is supposedly a tradition that groundsman Cameron Sutherland has carried out for many a year, but this is the first time it has been witnessed on camera.
There is no doubt that the ground staff will have worked very hard to produce a world class strip to showcase hopefully five days of test cricket, and it would appear to be a nice and good team building tradition. The staff are barefoot on the wicket and having worked so hard to prepare a top class strip there is no way that they are going to do anything to harm it on the eve of a test.
India, have struggled in this series and many believe the airing of this footage is their way of deflecting how poorly their team have performed against an Australian side that was a long way from being the side of five years ago. They have compounded how bad their record is away from home and as the second best test side in the world they have been truly humbled in the first two tests.
There is no doubt that it will be a welcome distraction.
However the question has to be asked what would have been Cricket Australia’s reaction had the boot been on the other foot, if the night before a test match in Mumbai a group of Indian ground staff removed the covers and were seen drinking tea on the pitch? They too would probably have reacted in a similar vein.
For a nation that prides itself on their attitude to cricket and the fact that it is like India the nation’s national sport, this was probably not the best image to have sent out around the world, and Australia’s reputation may well be harmed. Already many on the East coast of Australia are raising eyebrows at this sort of behaviour and almost excusing it as their distant cousins in the West.
The tradition of toasting the wicket is one that should be encouraged as the staff have worked hard over a long period of time to deliver a great test match, but should it be the night before the test, and on the actual wicket? Is this the image of Western Australia that we want broadcast around the cricketing world?
Once again one cannot help but feel WA has been caught due to its own naiveté.