Stuart Broad questions Australian ball-tampering and why they would change their Ashes-winning methods

Australian cricket is in crisis after Cameron Bancroft was caught red-handed attempting to doctor the ball on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town

Chris Stocks
Auckland
Sunday 25 March 2018 11:35
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Cricketer Cameron Bancroft seen with object while handling the ball

Stuart Broad has given his verdict on Australia’s ball-tampering shame in South Africa, openly questioning why, if this is the first time they have attempted it, they changed the methods that proved so successful for them during the Ashes earlier this winter.

Broad also accused Darren Lehmann of hypocrisy after the Australia coach this week complained about abuse from South African crowds five years after he called on his entire country to round on the England bowler and send him home “crying” from the 2013-14 Ashes tour.

Australian cricket is in crisis after Cameron Bancroft was caught red-handed attempting to doctor the ball on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

The fall-out has been unprecedented after Bancroft, caught rubbing a piece of tape coated with dust from the pitch on the ball while fielding, and captain Steve Smith admitted to the crime during a remarkable press conference at Newlands.

Cricket Australia have launched an immediate investigation into the pre-meditated attempt to cheat, with Smith implicating the entire “leadership group” of the Australian team, although he denied Lehmann was involved in the plot.

Even the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull chipped in, saying it was “completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating”.

Both Smith and Australia vice-captain David Warner were effectively sacked from their posts on the eve of the fourth day of the Cape Town Test, Cricket Australia euphemistically stating the pair “agreed to stand down for the remainder of the match”. Wicketkeeper Tim Paine is in temporary charge.

Cameron Bancroft appeared to produce an object from his trouser pocket while working on the ball

Smith stated this is the first time the team had attempted to doctor the ball.

And Broad, speaking after the fourth day of the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland, said: “I saw Steve Smith in his press conference say it’s the first time they’ve tried it, which to me seems really surprising they’ve changed a method that’s been working.

“Look at the Ashes series we’ve just played, look through all of those Test matches and they reverse swing the ball sometimes in conditions you wouldn’t expect the ball to reverse. So I don’t understand why they’ve changed their method for this one game?”

Asked whether perhaps they’d not changed their methods, Broad said: “I don’t know. Steve’s said it’s the first time they’ve tried it so he’s saying they have [changed their methods]. And there was no evidence they were doing this in the Ashes series from what I’ve seen.

Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith admit to ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa

“It’s a real shame. Obviously, you can tell it’s going to be big news because the world’s media seem to have jumped on it, I think there’s been some comments even from the Prime Minister etc. So it’s bringing cricket into the news in a way cricket fans and players don’t want.”

Australia had taken the moral high ground in the days running up to this scandal, complaining about abuse directed at their players from the South African crowds, even sending an official letter of complaint to the home board. Lehmann also branded the abuse “disgusting”.

“I don’t really understand Darren Lehmann coming out and saying the South African crowd have been out of order,” said Broad. “Any England player, even media, who have toured Australia can laugh at those comments because some of the things we hear on the pitch from Australian supporters, known as ‘banter’, I know is worse than South Africa.

“It’s such an interesting point but it looks like things might change for that team for a bit.”

Broad has questioned why Australia would change a winning method

Lehmann implored Australian fans to abuse Broad before the 2013-14 Ashes during an infamous radio interview, even going as far as calling him a “blatant cheat” for not walking during the 2013 Trent Bridge Ashes Test.

“I hope the Australian public give it to him right from the word go,” Lehmann had said. “And I hope he cries and goes home.”

Asked if he felt Lehmann was being hypocritical this week, Broad said: “That’s your word not mine but I would agree with you. You look at the quotes from that 2013 interview, where he basically asks a country to send an opposition player home crying. I didn’t - we lost the series but it didn’t make me cry.

“I then can’t understand why you’d come out and moan about a different country and what they’re saying to their players.

“I don’t know. I’ve always been a believer that if someone wants to take you on verbally and they’ve started that fight, you’re allowed to say something back. Just from the outside it looks like Australia have started a lot of fights and then are moaning when someone comes back.”

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