THE Australian Cricket Board has indicated that it cares little for world opinion -- and indeed very little for domestic opinion as well -- by appointing Shane Warne as captain of the one-day team for the first two games of the triangular tournament in lieu of the injured Steve Waugh. Insult has been added to injury by naming Mark Waugh as vice-captain for these matches.
A shadow has hung over both players after the news emerged that they had taken money from an Indian bookmaker for providing news about pitch and weather conditions some years ago. The ACB's role in covering up the issue was also questioned.
Australia is a senior member of the world cricketing community. As such, it is expected to lead the way. What kind of message is being to sent other, junior members of the community by the appointment of players who are under a cloud to positions of leadership?
Is the ACB serious about lending a hand to the boards which are trying to inquire into match-fixing? Or is it still trying to take the high moral ground, despite the fact that two of its contracted players took money from a bookmaker?
Indeed, is there any serious effort really being made to investigate the allegations of match-fixing? If the finger of suspicion is not removed, then soon people will realise that they are being taken for a ride; if some bookmaker sitting in a corner of the globe has already decided the direction a game will take, what is the point in watching it?
The ACB ought to have waited for some time before giving any position of responsibility to either of these two cricketers. By its actions, it is showing that it has condoned what they have done. There are plenty of good captaincy contenders in the one-day squad -- Michael Bevan and Adam Gilchrist, to name just two. Gilchrist is seen by many as a future captain of the one-day team.
There is one more aspect to appointing Warne; after the superb showing by Stuart MacGill this summer, is the better of the two leg-spinners being picked for the one-day series? In other words, if Warne were not nominated captain would he be in the squad? Remember, Mark Taylor lost his place in the one-day team because it was felt that he could not command a place on his batting alone.