The Newlands ball-tampering scandal enveloping Australia’s cricket team has now become a matter of national shame for the Australian media. The critics in various newspapers in Australian media slammed the players for being out of touch with a furious public.
Things came to a boil as Steve Smith admitted that the Australian team leadership has planned to alter the condition of the ball during Saturday’s third day of the third Test against South Africa at Newlands, to achieve advantage.
“We now find we have sent a squad of cricketers, pockets stuffed with money, tape and pitch litter, determined to stretch the game’s rules and etiquette until there is nothing left to do but cheat,” wrote Patrick Smith in The Australian.
He said, “They came to a point where ‘the line’ could no longer be pushed any further validly and without a serious breach of rules. So senior players schemed to take action that did more than bring the game into disrepute, it has shamed our nation.”
Smith has insisted he would not quit, saying he still thought “I’m the right person for the job” after teammate Cameron Bancroft was caught using a yellow object to alter the condition of the ball.
“What is extraordinary, I think, is how it was done and how easily it was agreed to by the team and how, not unapologetic, but sort of oblivious to the consequences Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft seemed to be at the press conference,” cricket writer Gideon Haigh was quoted by national broadcaster ABC.
He further commented, “I think over the last year or so, I’ve sensed a real disconnect between this team and the public, and this administration and the public. It’s almost as though both organisations, the team and (governing body) Cricket Australia, are in a bit of a bubble -- bubbles of their own making.”
ABC senior commentator Jim Maxwell said that he was “more and more offended by the arrogance of some of the players in the way they behave”.
“Cricket Australia will more than likely have to make some very big decisions about the leadership in the team.If the leadership of Australian cricket can even think of doing something like this then they need to be ostracised and I’ve a feeling that Steve Smith is probably going to lose the captaincy over this,” he further said.
“Forget that the whole leadership group was in on it. The buck stops with the captain, what he says goes. The minute he said ‘go’ for cheating, was the minute he signed off as a real captain,” said Russell Gould in the Herald Sun.