Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff still does not believe that there was no one apart from Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft who knew about the plot of ball-tampering in South Africa.
Last month, the trio was suspended by Australian sports governing body after caught Bancroft using sandpaper to alter the conditions of the ball in the Cape Town Test. They all also accepted their punishments and confirmed that they would not be lodging an appeal against the CA’ verdict.
Flintoff told the BBC, “I am struggling to think that not everyone (in the team) knew. I might be completely wrong but you talk about it -- you talk about how you're going to treat the ball. The ball in cricket is so important. To say that a bowler has got a ball in his hands, or anybody else in the field does not know that this ball has been tampered with is absolute nonsense.”
Former aggressive all-rounder further added, “To say that a bowler has got a ball in his hands, or anybody else in the field does not know that this ball has been tampered with is absolute nonsense. You talk and talk and talk about how you're going to look after this ball. To then say that other people didn't know; if that's the case I feel sorry for (Australia left-arm fast bowler) Mitchell Starc. He's got the ball in his hands; he's running in thinking, 'he's Wasim Akram'. This ball's moving everywhere, he's thinking, 'I'm cracking it here, I'm doing something which is unbelievable'. Don't tell me you didn't know.”
On being asked if the bans handed down by Cricket Australia to the trio were fair, Flintoff replied, “No - I think the crime doesn't warrant that. One of the things which has really annoyed me is that I've seen people raising their profile on the back of other people's misery. I've seen people I've played with, who have been good to me; I have seen them change in the space of two seconds.”
He signed off by saying, “All of a sudden (they say) 'let's call for their head, this is disgusting, this is disgraceful'. Some of them are in glass houses: don't be chucking your stones lads. We've done a few things which aren't particularly in the rules -- not as bad as that -- and it changes. Then I saw Steve Smith on TV crying his eyes out, so upset, and I put a tweet out saying: 'Are you happy now? Is that what you wanted'?”