The Australian cricket team is, as you would expect, one of our national treasures. As one of those in the test match league along with South Africa, England, India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Zimbabwe, we have always held our cricketing heads high. Until now, that is.
When Cameron Bancroft made his attempt to alter the surface of the ball – in what will now be remembered in history as Australia’s shameful test match of last Saturday in South Africa – he did not think of the fallout from his actions. He very probably was so focused on winning at any cost, he wasn’t thinking straight.
It has transpired, since the weekend’s revelation, that Bancroft was acting with the complicity of the senior members of the cricketing squad. We would not know this had Captain Steve Smith decided to come clean and give explanation to Bancroft’s behaviour and we suppose for that we should be grateful. However our national cricket team and its beleaguered captain, should have eschewed the plan as soon as it had been thought of – or better still – not thought of it at all. Why? Because this is how they will be judged!
What has been lost is far greater than the one test ban that Bancroft has to undergo and the loss of Captaincy for Steve Smith. Trust, confidence and national honour have been offered up at the pyre of “winning by any means” and burnt to ashes.
Fresh HR Insights suggests that had there been a Code of Conduct, or some form of guideline, outlining the values of our national cricket team and how they must behave especially when facing challenging matches and the fear of losing, it would have been useful.
Such a policy would have shaped how our young men behave in the field, or off it when planning team strategy. “No shame in losing” is one such value and better to face that than show the world you will cheat to win!
Other workplaces have this kind of guidance, and it helps when employees or senior management are faced with difficult moments. To lose a client or cheat to keep them can give inexperienced staff nightmares – a policy expressly forbidding dishonesty in company practice is worth its long term weight in gold. Trust and confidence take years to build and seconds to lose.
It is not made easier to understand our team’s behaviour in the light of further news that this is a regular thing in the cricketing world, and over which umpires and other adjudicating personnel have turned a blind eye. Fresh HR Insights considers that this might be a turning point for cricket. Any place of work or field of endeavour needs its policies and practices laid out for all to see. When human weakness starts to triumph we will have the guidance, there in front of us, to pull us back onto the honest tracks that we should have stayed on in the first place.
A code of conduct is a must – all staff and personnel, whether in our famous sporting teams or in the local estate agents, should know what is expected of them, especially when under pressure. There is self-discipline in losing, with honour. Let us not forget that.