Amidst arguably the most competitive and riveting Test series in recent history, Australian opener Cameron Bancroft has been charged with ball tampering after being caught by television cameras with a foreign object; allegedly a piece of yellow tape to alter the state of the ball encouraging reverse-swing.
Umpires Llong and Illingworth initially became aware of the incident before tea on day three quickly questioning Bancroft in regards to the foreign object that was perceived to be rubbing against the ball. Despite the overwhelming evidence at this point, Bancroft denied the accusations presenting his sunglasses cleaner insisting there was no malice involved.
Skeptical of this explanation when analyzing the damning footage, Australian cricket legend Shane Warne berated the behaviour stating, “If you bring in a foreign object, and it tampers with the ball in some way then that has to be seriously looked at.”
Test legend disappointed
Clearly disappointed in the actions of Australia, Warne went on to contemplate if Bancroft was entirely to blame for the incident or if it was a clear plan from the Aussies to aid their pursuit for reverse-swing,
“It’s not fair to nail Cameron Bancroft either. I don’t think he would have made that decision by himself."
Warne’s suspicions were proved to be correct as shortly after the close of play, Bancroft confessed to using a yellow tape after discussions with senior members of the team led to an effort to “change the condition of the ball.”
To make matters worse for Australia, shortly after Bancroft’s admission of guilt, Smith confessed to being complicit in the affair noting, “the leadership group knew about it. I'm not proud of it."
Regardless of his apparent remorse, the issue raises doubts concerning Smith and the leadership group’s reputation.
Where the coaches involved?
In addition to the ensuing consequences facing the playing group, the incident will surely bring into question possible involvement from the coaching staff on top of allegations of previous misdemeanors associated with ball tampering from the Australians.
In the subsequent press conference, Smith vehemently denied allegations that Mitchell Starc’s Man of the Match display of reverse-swing in Durban was influenced by ball tampering. Regardless of the outcome of these claims, Bancroft has already been charged with a Level 2 offence under the ICC’s code of conduct, facing three or four demerit points and the possibility of a one-match ban.
Even though Smith immediately acknowledged his wrong-doing and clear regret over the day’s events, it is a mistake that has tarnished the reputations and principles and brought back into the limelight the spirit of the game one week after the Rabada incident in Port Elizabeth. The potential backlash was mentioned by Bancroft and Smith with the young opener stating “I want to be here because I'm accountable for my actions. I've got to live with the consequences and the damage to my reputation.”
These thoughts are echoed by Smith who ensured his forthrightness wasn’t a reflection of being caught, “It's a poor reflection on everyone in that dressing room. If we weren't caught, I'd still feel bad about it.”
What are your thoughts on this breaking story? Let us know in the comments below.