Belfast Telegraph

We must consider mental impact on guilty parties, says Waugh


By Steve Simpson

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh is "deeply troubled" by the ball-tampering row but has called for a "focused and balanced perspective" in the condemnation of those involved.

Steve Smith has admitted he oversaw a plot to change the condition of the ball during the third Test loss to South Africa in Cape Town and Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera hiding sticky tape, which he had used in an attempt to manipulate the ball with debris from the pitch, down his trousers at Newlands on Saturday.

Waugh said: "Like many, I'm deeply troubled by the events in Cape Town this last week, and acknowledge the thousands of messages I have received, mostly from heartbroken cricket followers worldwide.

"The Australian cricket team has always believed it could win in any situation against any opposition by playing combative, skilful and fair cricket, driven by our pride in the fabled Baggy Green.

"I have no doubt the current Australian team continues to believe in this mantra, however some have now failed our culture, making a serious error of judgement in the Cape Town Test match.

"In 2003, we modified the Spirit of Cricket document originally created by the MCC to empower our players to set their own standards and commit to play the Australian way.

"We must urgently revisit this document, re-bind our players to it and ensure the spirit in which we play is safeguarded for the future of the sport, and to continue to inspire the dreams of every young kid picking up a bat and ball and for every fan who lives and breathes the game."

The 52-year-old stressed that the well-being of the players should be taken into account when judgements are passed.

"A focused and balanced perspective is needed in the condemnation on those involved in this, with a clear and critical consideration to the social impact and mental health of all players," he said.

Meanwhile, Michael Vaughan says he is "pretty sure" Australia were tampering with the ball during this winter's 4-0 Ashes series win over England.

The former England captain said: "I can't believe that this hasn't happened before. I look at the amount of tape some of the fielders have worn, particularly during the Ashes series, mid-on, mid-off. (You) don't have to name names but they know who they are.

"I'm pretty sure that it was going on during the Ashes series.

"But it wasn't the reason why England lost 4-0. They still would have lost that series."

Vaughan said Australia had broken an 'unwritten rule' in the game by taking an object out onto the pitch to tamper with the ball.

The former batsman, who led England to Ashes success in 2005, added: "I played for 17 years and there wasn't a team that I played in that didn't get close to the line. There were many, you would say tricks, that many teams would use out in the middle.

"You'd see the ball get bounced into the rough to create reverse swing, you'd see sweets in the mouth, you'd see saliva put on the ball to try and keep that shine for longer.

"Is that right? Many will say not, but that's what has happened in the game of cricket for many, many years and will continue to happen, because it's very hard to control.

"One unwritten rule in the game is that you don't take a piece or an object out there to tamper with the ball, and I'm pretty sure the Australians and the players involved in that leadership group will face the consequences."

Belfast Telegraph


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