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‘It’s disgraceful’: Michael Clarke on Australia cheating

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has said Steve Smith ‘will be sitting in his hotel room right now in tears’ after the national cricket team cheated against South Africa under his orders.

Batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera pulling sticky tape from his pocket and rubbing it on the ball to illegally gain an advantage on Saturday.

In press conference after play, captain Smith admitted that he and senior players planned the ball-tampering at lunch on day three of the test match in Cape Town.

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has said Steve Smith ‘will be sitting in his hotel room right now in tears’ after the national cricket team was caught cheating against South Africa

Clarke called the cheating 'blatant' and 'disrespectful' during an interview on Nine News today

Clarke called the cheating ‘blatant’ and ‘disrespectful’ during an interview on Nine News today

Clarke called the cheating ‘blatant’ and ‘disrespectful’ during an interview on Nine News on Sunday morning.

He said: ‘I am pretty emotional about it all, to be honest. It is going to be quite hard for me to talk about. I think I have no doubt in my mind Steve Smith will be sitting in his hotel room right now in tears.

‘I have no doubt in my mind that every past Australian cricketer will be absolutely shattered with what we found out this morning.’

On Bancroft, he said: ‘This is his eighth test match. I can’t believe if the leadership group has made a decision to do this, that they have gone and got the young kid who is playing his eighth test match to do that. 

‘As a leader, you can’t ask somebody to do something you are not willing to do something you are not willing to do yourself, number one. 

'I have no doubt in my mind that every past Australian cricketer will be absolutely shattered with what we found out this morning,' said Clarke

‘I have no doubt in my mind that every past Australian cricketer will be absolutely shattered with what we found out this morning,’ said Clarke

Bancroft and Steve Smith admitted that ball tampering had taken place during the action

Sticking up for the captain, Clarke added: ‘Smith is such a lovely, lovely guy – you can see there he’s just shattered, you know. I really feel sorry for him.’ 

Clarke declined to answer on whether Smith should be fired, saying: ‘I don’t think it would be fair for me, Fitz, to answer that question right now.’

He added: ‘I think I’m too emotional, I’m going off footage I have seen, I haven’t spoken to any players, haven’t spoken to any players, haven’t spoken to the Australian captain. 

‘I think I would need to do a lot more groundwork before I could make that decision, but I can guarantee you this is not good.’  

Millions of Australians woke up on Sunday to headlines they could scarcely believable as fans quickly bayed for blood, demanding ‘sack the lot of them.’

 

 

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke was among scores of outraged cricket legends who expressed their shock on Sunday morning.

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke was among scores of outraged cricket legends who expressed their shock on Sunday morning.

Former captain Allan Border was among scores of outraged cricket legends.

Discussing the possibility of Smith being sacked, he wrote in his Fox Sports Australia column: ‘If the ICC and the Australian board decides that Steve Smith is free to play in the fourth Test, I would be comfortable with that.

‘But equally, if he has to pay a penalty for his leadership in going down this path I’d be just as comfortable.’ 

He added: It’s hard to explain your emotions when it comes to seeing the Australian team doing something like this – you just feel embarrassed and disappointed.’ 

Another former captain, Michael Clarke, posted on Twitter: ‘WHAT THE …….. HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream.’

Michael Vaughan led chorus of condemnation and criticism from other former players.

‘Steve Smith,his Team & ALL the management will have to accept that whatever happens in their careers they will all be known for trying to CHEAT the game,’ former England captain Vaughan tweeted.

The four-Test series between Australia and South Africa has been marred by a handful of ugly controversies, starting with a staircase clash between David Warner and Quinton de Kock.

Millions of Australians woke up on Sunday to headlines they could scarcely believable as fans quickly bayed for blood, demanding 'sack the lot of them.'

Millions of Australians woke up on Sunday to headlines they could scarcely believable as fans quickly bayed for blood, demanding ‘sack the lot of them.’

There isn’t exactly a good time for such an incident to unfold but it could hardly have been timed more poorly for Smith’s side and Cricket Australia.

On the field, the series was locked 2-1 and the team’s desperation to win has overridden their moral compasses.

Off the field, CA has been trying to improve the image of its side while lodging an official complaint about the vile nature of abuse from South African spectators.

‘The Australian camp has been lecturing people lately on how the game should be played and a line that shouldn’t be crossed,’ former England captain Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports.

‘Some of the stuff that has come out of the Australian camp, especially, has been laughable.

‘Well, it looks like they’re on the wrong side of the line here. It does not look good for the image of the game.

Australia's Cameron Bancroft has found himself at the centre of ball-tampering controversy

Australia’s Cameron Bancroft has found himself at the centre of ball-tampering controversy

He was seen running his hand over the ball, before removing a yellow object from his pocket

The Australia player was then spotted putting the object down the front of his trousers

The opening batsman was seen running his hand over the ball, before removing a yellow object from his pocket and placing it down the front of his trousers

‘It looks terrible, a premeditated move to get reverse swing and a blatant attempt to ball tamper.’

Injured Proteas paceman Dale Steyn and recently-retired batsman Kevin Pietersen questioned whether coach Darren Lehmann was aware of Australia’s plan, something Smith denied while speaking to reporters.

‘This will be Darren Lehmann’s greatest test as a coach, cos (sic) I will struggle to believe that this was all Bancroft’s idea,’ Pietersen posted on Twitter.

Steyn replied that ‘nothing in professional sport is done without the consent of your captain and coach.

Bancroft was charged by the International Cricket Council with ball-tampering before he and Smith were forced to issue grovelling apologies while facing a hostile media immediately after the end of the day’s play. 

Smith insisted it had never happened before under his captaincy and was adamant that he would not be resigning.

‘The leadership group knew about it,’ he confessed. ‘We spoke about it at lunch. I am not proud of what’s happened. It’s not within the spirit of the game. My integrity, the team’s integrity and the leadership group’s integrity has come into question. It won’t happen again.

‘It’s not what the Australian cricket team is about. I am incredibly sorry for trying to bring the game into disrepute.’

The incident took place during the afternoon session and was picked up by TV cameras.

A small, yellow object was seen in Bancroft’s hands after he had worked on the ball, the opener later revealing it to be a piece of tape covered in dirt.

He was later captured taking it from his pocket and placing it down his trousers, a few moments after being spoken to by the substitute Peter Handscomb, who had come onto the field after speaking to coach Darren Lehmann via walkie-talkie.

‘Once I was sighted on the big screens I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers,’ said Bancroft.

Although the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong of England, questioned Bancroft at the time, he produced what appeared to be a black sunglasses bag from his right pocket in way of explanation, and clearly in a bid to deceive the officials.

Bancroft was spoken to by English umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth on Saturday

Bancroft was spoken to by English umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth on Saturday

Bancroft admitted he had panicked when he was sighted on the screens in the stadium

Bancroft admitted he had panicked when he was sighted on the screens in the stadium

No action was taken at the time — the umpires could have changed the ball or docked Australia runs — but match officials, including referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, were able to review TV footage of the incident.

Bancroft revealed: ‘We had a discussion during the (lunch) break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition — it didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball.’

Smith continued: ‘It was a poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren’t involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this.

‘We saw this game as such an important game. We’ve seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn’t seem like it was going to go. It’s such poor actions. Deeply regrettable.

‘I am embarrassed. I know the boys in the shed are embarrassed as well. Being the leader, I am incredibly sorry. If we weren’t caught, I would still regret it.

‘I won’t consider stepping down. I still think I am the right person for the job. Today was a big mistake on my part and on the leadership group as well. I have to take control of the ship. This is something I am not proud of. It’s something I hope I can learn from and come back from. I am embarrassed. It is a big error in judgement.’ 

'The leadership group knew about it', Smith (right) admitted following Saturday's action

‘The leadership group knew about it’, Smith (right) admitted following Saturday’s action

Smith insisted coaches were not involved in the plan in Cape Town and had no knowledge of it

Smith insisted coaches were not involved in the plan in Cape Town and had no knowledge of it

Smith said he understood that there would be doubts over whether or not his side had used these tactics earlier in the series, but said: ‘You can ask questions as much as you like but I promise you this is the first time it has happened.’

Bancroft will get a ban for his actions and added: ‘I don’t think I was coerced. I was nervous about it because there are hundreds of cameras around. Unfortunately I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I am accountable for my actions as well. I’m not proud of what has happened.’

The ball-tampering row is just the latest incident in an ill-tempered four-match series.

Earlier in the Test, Australia opener David Warner was confronted by a spectator as he returned to the dressing room after being dismissed.

Lehmann later criticised the ‘disgraceful’ verbal abuse directed at his players and their families by the South African crowd and Cricket Australia sent a letter of complaint to Cricket South Africa.

Following the first Test, Warner and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock were charged by the ICC after an altercation.

South African pace bowler Kagiso Rabada was then banned for two matches after being found guilty of deliberately making contact with Smith during the second Test, but successfully appealed.

Bancroft insisted that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was caught

Bancroft insisted that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was caught

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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