Former Australia captain Steve Smith has said that comments from Cricket Australia officials might have contributed to the culture that eventually saw three players getting banned for ball tampering earlier this year.
While Smith and his deputy David Warner were given 12-month bans, rookie opener Cameron Bancroft was handed a nine-month suspension under CA's Code of Conduct for their roles in the disgraceful ball-tampering plot against South Africa at Newlands in March.
The incident led to an independent review into Cricket Australia, which accused the organisation of only paying lip service to the spirit of the game and not doing anything for the moral guidance of players.
"I think back to Hobart, when we lost there against South Africa and it was our fifth straight loss in the Test cricket after three Tests in Sri Lanka and I remember James Sutherland and Pat Howard coming in the rooms there and actually saying 'we don’t pay you to play, we pay you to win'," Smith said in an interview with Adam Gilchrist on Fox Cricket.
"For me that was a little bit disappointing to say, we don’t go out there to try lose games of cricket, we go out there to try and win and play the best way we can," he added.
Smith, however, mentioned that he personally felt the culture within the team was fine.
"You only have to look back a couple of months before South Africa and we won an Ashes series in Australia four-nil and people are saying the culture’s really good and everything’s really good so things can change really quickly," he asserted.
"Obviously the events that happened in Cape Town made people say that the culture was really bad. People will have their own opinions on that, personally I don’t think it was a bad culture," the 29-year-old further remarked.
Meanwhile, Bancroft's ban is due to expire on December 29 whereas Smith and Warner will not be eligible to return until March 29, 2019.