Cricket Australia found themselves in a real spot of bother on Saturday after the visiting players were caught disgracing what’s essentially known as the gentlemen’s game in South Africa.
The ugly scenes of blatant ball tampering by Australia’s Cameron Bancroft in Cape Town on Saturday sent shock-waves across the cricketing world. What followed next was even worse when the Australian skipper, Steve Smith, spectacularly confessed that the team management had decided to cheat by tampering with the ball in the third Test against South Africa in their desperation to win the match.
The video of Bancroft desperately trying to scuff up the cricket ball with a sand paper went viral. Bancroft’s dirty act was caught by TV camera and broadcast on the big screen installed in the stadium while the match was in play. Embarrassed by the public shaming, Bancroft was then seen hiding the sand paper inside his underwear.
He was also spoken to by the field umpires, who did not change the ball, which was deliberately damaged to cause the reverse swing. However, while speaking to reporters after the day’s play, Bancroft confessed that he was guilty of ball-tampering. Smith, for his part, also revealed that it was the collective decision of the team management to indulge in ball-tampering during the lunch break.
He said, “The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it (ball-tampering) at lunch. I am not proud of what has happened. It is not in the spirit of the game, not in line with my integrity, the team’s integrity. The leadership group’s integrity has come into question and rightly so. It is not on. It won’t happen again under my leadership I can promise you that.”
— JB (@kasi_jb) March 24, 2018
The video of Bancroft trying to hide the sand paper inside his underwear.
— Simon Harmer (@SimonHarmerRSA) March 24, 2018
Smith is now fighting to save his captaincy and place in the team. While the ICC has a mild punishment for ball-tampering resulting in one match ban, Australian cricket captaincy is deemed as the second most powerful job after the prime minister. In view of the prestige being attached to Smith’s designation, it’s highly unlikely that he will be able to retain his position in the team. The Saturday’s ugly incident has caused an irreparable damage to Cricket Australia, which will struggle for a long time to regain its lost glory.