The cricket world came to a standstill as Australia captain Steve Smith and player Cameron Bancroft admitted to ball tampering during the third day of the first Test on Saturday (Mar 24).
This came after Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera tampering with the ball with a yellow object, which he hid in his trousers when confronted by the umpires. Smith admitted that the Australian leadership in dressing planned all of this out of desperation and he knew about it.
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke spoke to Channel Nine’s Sports Sunday program and said, “The team has made a set plan that we’re going to cheat to help us win this game of cricket. I’m appalled that it was even thought about.”
The 2015 World cup winning skipper described the incident as “disgraceful” and “premeditated, blatant cheating”, according to cricket.co.au.
WHAT THE ........ HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream.— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 24, 2018
“I can’t believe if the leadership group has made a decision to do this, that they’ve gone and got the young kid who’s playing his eighth Test match to do that. As a leader, you can’t ask somebody to do something you’re not willing to do yourself,” he said.
Clarke also spoke about Steve Smith and said, “If we’re going to make a decision on Steve Smith, we have to make the same decision on all of the leadership group. If Steve Smith was to be stood down or sacked, you couldn’t give the leadership to somebody else in that leadership group because he (Smith) has made it very clear that they made the decision. If people need to be sacked, if accountability needs to be shown, unfortunately that’s the mistake that’s been made. In my opinion, what is important is this never happens again in our game.”
Clarke further said, “I don’t know if they were angry, if they were tired, if they were frustrated – I don’t know why, but they were. Every little thing that has happened on this tour, they’ve whined, they’ve complained, they haven’t got their own way. I feel like everyone’s under pressure in that changeroom, they feel like they need to do something like this to beat South Africa and this is what they’ve gone to. Nobody’s thought about it at all.”
Clarke said the Australian team is the best in the world, but “If we need to cheat to beat anyone in any conditions, for any reason there is a deep, deep problem with what we are doing with our sport.”