Australian Church unique prayers for cricketers involved in ball tempering

Australian Church unique prayers for cricketers involved in ball tempering

SYDNEY: A cheating scandal that has ripped through the core of Australia’s most venerated pastime, cricket, prompted church leaders to provide guidance over the Easter weekend on how to emerge from the moral tailspin.

Addressing Sunday’s congregation at Sydney’s St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies said the redemption of Easter gives hope of forgiveness to all who face moral failure - even disgraced sportsmen.

Australian cricket was shaken to the core when three national players were discovered to have conspired to scuff the ball with sandpaper during the third test match against South Africa last month.

Roughing up one side of a ball can help it to swing through the air, making it more difficult for the opposing batsman to play.

An investigation led to the sacking of captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner who were both banned from playing for 12 months. Batsman Cameron Bancroft was suspended for nine months.

“When we all look at our own selves, we recognise we’ve all been there, we’ve had our own failures,” Davies said. “Perhaps not quite as public as Steve Smith’s and the other two, but failures nonetheless. If it’s hard enough to confront and stand up to a press gallery and admit you’re wrong, what would it be like to stand before the living God and admit that you were wrong?”

The inclusion of the ball-tampering in Easter sermons underscores how deep the scandal has run in a sports-loving country that prides itself on fair play. Past cricket giants such as master batsman Sir Donald Bradman are revered for their conduct as much as for their victories. - Agencies