India’s seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday (March 26) opened up about his stance on the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the entire cricketing fraternity during the just concluded Test match between Australia and South Africa in Cape Town.
Ashwin stated that whatever the Australian cricketers did can happen in the heat of the moment. He also suggested that it is inappropriate for an outsider to comment on this matter.
“It’s very difficult sitting at a distance and commenting on what might have happened in the dressing room,” Ashwin told NDTV at a promotional event organised by Chinese electronics company Oppo.
“These things happen in the heat of the moment. I’m not trying to stand for it but the fact remains that [cricket] is entirely tech-driven and you have to be extra careful especially when you are in the public eye and have the responsibility to carry out yourself in the utmost dignified manner as possible.”
“That is one of the disadvantages of technology growing so much...I would say it is literally dictating play in terms of cricket and life for everybody. If technology hadn’t gone this far, we would not be talking about this so much,” he added.
Besides Ashwin, swashbuckling India batsman Rohit Sharma was also present at the event and he chose to play safe by refusing to comment on the matter.
“I don’t know if it’s relevant for me to comment about that sitting so far away. I don’t know what must have happened there,” Rohit stated.
During the post-lunch session on Day 3 in Cape Town, cameras caught rookie Australian opener Cameron Bancroft using a foreign object to work on the ball. Video aired by the official broadcaster shows Bancroft using a small, yellow object hidden in his palm, as he rubbed the ball with his palm and then onto his trousers. He is then seen transferring something from that palm into his right pocket.
The footage was brought to the notice of the two on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth, who immediately halted play and conferred in the middle of the pitch.
In a shocking press conference after the day's play, Smith had admitted that the entire ball-tampering saga was a deliberate plan from the “leadership group” of the side. Moreover, he had apologised and tried to convince everyone that this was the first time it had happened under his captaincy.
Subsequently, Smith was handed a one-match suspension and fined 100% of his match fee by the International Cricket Council (ICC), while rookie Bancroft was penalized 75 percent of his match fee and awarded three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct.