Ball-tampering debacle embarrasses me, says England’s Trevor Bayliss
Bayliss was shocked by events in Cape Town.
England’s Australian coach Trevor Bayliss admits he is embarrassed by the ball-tampering shame which has engulfed his compatriots on their Test tour of South Africa.
Bayliss, who oversaw England’s 4-0 defeat in his native country this winter, has echoed the insistence of captain Joe Root and senior seamer Stuart Broad that the Ashes tourists had no reason to suspect any sharp practice from their hosts.
But as a former mentor of Steve Smith’s when Australia’s newly-deposed captain was a young New South Wales all-rounder, he has been shocked by events in Cape Town this week.
Steve (Smith) is a lovely young bloke who has made a terrible mistake Trevor Bayliss
Smith was banned by the International Cricket Council for the final Test in Johannesburg and fined his match fee for the third match of four at Newlands after he and batsman Cameron Bancroft confessed to a plot to alter the condition of the ball by using tape concealed in the latter’s pocket during South Africa’s second innings.
Smith will be sent home along with vice-captain David Warner and Bancroft on Wednesday, Cricket Australia has announced. Tim Paine has been named as the new skipper of the side.
“I’m obviously disappointed – and as an Australian I’m embarrassed,” said Bayliss. “Steve is a lovely young bloke who has made a terrible mistake, and I’m sure Cricket Australia (CA) will work out the course of action required.”
CA is expected to announce on Wednesday what punishment the players will face. Australia coach Darren Lehmann is staying in his role, after an investigation found he had no prior knowledge of the plan to tamper.
Bayliss, speaking after England’s innings defeat in their first Test against New Zealand in Auckland, said of the Australians: “They obviously will be punished, but I’ve no idea how severe … we’ll have to see what Cricket Australia come up with.”
Asked if England had any suspicions about Australian ball-tampering during the Ashes, however, he said: “No. I thought we were outplayed by a much better team.
“I’ve got no complaints.”
Bayliss does wonder if Australia’s often uncompromising tactics of late – not specifically ball-tampering – meant they so alienated some opponents that they had the flak coming once it was clear they transgressed.
“I think a lot of what they’re copping at the moment comes from the way they have played their game,” he added. “It’s almost like teams and people around the world have been waiting for them to stuff up, so they can lay the boot in.”
Under Smith, Australia have had to account for their hard-nosed approach many times – including against England and then in the ongoing, ill-tempered series in South Africa. They have often clarified that they know the ‘line’ between what is acceptable and what is not, and will not cross it.
Players and teams around the world have got to take a step back and have a bit of a think about the way they go about things. Trevor Bayliss
Bayliss does not care to estimate a specific point at which Australia began to push the limits, but points out it is the responsibility of all teams and players to uphold the spirit of their sport.
“I don’t think you can say when any culture has changed,” he said. “It’s one of (those) things that continually over a period of time builds and builds, and unfortunately on this occasion it’s gone too far.
“It’s not just Australian cricket that’s being thought of in a negative way – it’s going to be the game as a whole.
“Players and teams around the world have got to take a step back and have a bit of a think about the way they go about things, and make sure the game continues on into the future and (is) held in the best possible light by everyone.”