Smith column: Aussie cheats remembered for all the wrong reasons

England's Joe Root signals his 50 against New Zealand during their first cricket test in Auckland, New Zealand
England's Joe Root signals his 50 against New Zealand during their first cricket test in Auckland, New Zealand

In 10 years time what will we remember?

England being 29 for nine and 58 all-out against New Zealand or Australia’s ball tampering in South Africa?

Will Joe Root’s embarrassment last as long as Steve Smith’s shame? No chance.

Form is temporary, cheating is permanent.

Supporters can eventually laugh-off bad results, shocking though they may seem at the time. No-one forgets cheating.

Ben Johnson’s drug-fulled dash to win the 1988 Olympic 100 metres final, Maradona’s ‘Hand Of God’ goal in Mexico, Leeds United’s decade of darkness under Don Revie.

Then there’s the dope-taking Irish show-jump horse Waterford Crystal disqualified from the 2004 Olympics.

OK, maybe not the last one, but you get the point.

After smashing England all over Australia in the Ashes this winter captain Smith’s place in Australian cricket folklore was guaranteed. Now he’s the idiot who gave the nod to ball-tampering on his watch as captain.

We can forgive and forget failure but cheating is for life. That’s without examining the levels of stupidity required to think they would get away with it in front of three-dozen TV cameras.

‘Utterly brainless’ Sheffield’s former England skipper Michael Vaughan called it. The incident even went out live on the big screen at the game. Doh!

n You have to feel sorry for some Millwall fans.

Not the violent and sociopathic types who want to take on all-comers to prove to the world exactly why ‘no-one likes us’. I mean the ordinary men and women who support the team whose fans just happen have the worst reputation in football. Likewise England supporters in Amsterdam.

They must be so sick of being challenged by every ne’er do well numpty from every club who wants to prove himself by taking on the mighty Millwall/England crew.

Without knowing the details of events when Wednesday fans got on the train to Leeds at Chapeltown the other Saturday at least some of the Millwall supporters on their way to Barnsley must have thought: ’Oh no, here we go again’.

It’s no fun being caught between two sets of football fans full of beer and primeval pre-match bravado – especially on a train where there’s nowhere to go.

Most of the Millwall, Wednesday and England fans on the way watch their teams will have been as appalled by the violence as those out on a shopping trip.