Australian cricket is heading for major crisis after Skipper Steve Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft sensationally admitted to ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa , which has left cricketing world in state of shock and utter disbelief . The shocking admission came during the press conference on the third day of the third tests between South Africa and Australia.
The admission was all over Australian papers and there was widespread anger. The story led the front pages of all of the country’s major newspapers, the headlines mostly working around the single word “Shame”, and on radio talk shows and social media the offenders were lambasted with a vehemence unusual for even those forums.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was furious and angry on the reports coming in from South Africa. “We all woke up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa,” Turnbull told reporters. “It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating.”
Both Steve Smith and David Warner stepped aside form their respective positions for wicket-keeper Tim Paine to act as stand-in-skipper. South Africa went onto beat Australia by 322 runs in the third Test of the series to lead the series 2-1. A series that has seen tempers flare up from both sides .
Bancroft during the press conference said “We had a discussion during the break. On myself I saw an opportunity to use some yellow tape and the granules from the rough patches of the wicket to change the condition of the ball,” said opening batsman Bancroft who is playing in his eighth Test.
“It didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball. We have this yellow tape in our kit. The actual sticky stuff itself is very sticky so I felt it could be used to collect some stuff from the side of the pitch.”
The International Cricket Council on Sunday banned Australia captain Steve Smith for one match and fined 100 percent of his match fees.
Smith admitted that he had a big role to play in the whole incident. “The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch. I’m not proud of what happened. It’s not in the spirit of the game,” he said.
According to latest reports in ESPNCricinfo, Smith and his vice-captain David Warner are both facing life bans if the maximum penalty is applied under Cricket Australia’s code of behaviour.
“Steve Smith’s time as Australia’s captain is surely up,” former fast bowler and possible future Australia coach Jason Gillespie wrote for Guardian Australia. “It is impossible to envisage a scenario where he stays in the job. This is a train wreck.
“This was pre-planned cheating. It may have been implemented by a junior player in Cameron Bancroft but it came with the backing and knowledge of ‘the leadership group’, a core of senior guys in the Australian set-up.”