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Cricket Australia seeks forgiveness as it continues recovery from ball-tampering scandal.

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PhotoAustralian cricket is still trying to recover from the scandal in South Africa.Reuters: Rogan WardThe Australian women’s team has made an auspicious and widely viewed start to their season, while the men (with three significant exceptions) return to the Test arena against Pakistan in the UAE on Sunday.

The domestic one-day competition continues in its new “everyone-plays-a-final format” and the weekend warriors have occupied the parklands.

Cricket is back and it wants you to forgive, forget and fall in love with it again.

That is, if you are one of those whose romance with the game ended at the sight of what we were told was yellow sticking plaster and later found was — somehow more sinister — a piece of sandpaper.

Or perhaps for you the blatant cheating in South Africa was merely the final straw, and vile sledging, endemic corruption or the growing gap between the professional and the club game had soured your personal love affair with cricket.

Whatever the reason, for the first time since the World Series Cricket split in the late 1970s a sport that has taken for granted its status as our national past time finds itself in the unusual position of having to convince a portion of its once baked-on constituency that they should still care.

That job falls primarily to Cricket Australia’s (CA) newly appointed chief executive Kevin Roberts, himself a somewhat controversial choice given his combative role in the recent pay dispute and media rights negotiations.

Roberts’s predecessor James Sutherland enjoyed the benefits of cricket’s equivalent of the mining boom, the period during which Australia reaped the vast benefits of its nexus with India and England, exploding media rights values and the BBL phenomenon.

All while basking in the glow — or more recently, the afterglow — of the sumptuous talent and vast accomplishments of a team that included Waugh, Waugh, McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden and co.

Now? Even those who argue the treatment of latter day heroes Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft was heavy-handed will agree the shame of South Africa — and the circumstances that led to it — have left a stain on the game.

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