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’s claim comes after Australia skipper Steve Smith admitted this weekend his side had tried to manipulate the ball during the third Test defeat to South Africa.
Smith insisted it was the first time time it had happened under his captaincy, but Vaughan believes it has been going on for “quite a while”.
Vaughan told BBC Sport: “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.”
Joe Root, who captained England Down Under this winter, said on Monday that he saw no reason to suspect Australia of ball-tampering during the series.
The current scandal came to light on Saturday after Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera hiding sticky tape, which he had used to manipulate the ball with debris from the pitch, down his trousers.
Smith admitted the ploy had been devised by the team’s “leadership group” – a body of Australia players whose identity has yet to be revealed.
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, said: “I played for 17 years and there wasn’t a team that I played in that didn’t get close to the line.
What I find appalling in all this is the Youngster got given the Job .. Was it because someone in the team had been accused of using Hand tape for a similar affect !!!!!!! So they wanted someone else to take the mantle .... Disgraceful behaviour by senior pros ... #SAvAUS
What I find appalling in all this is the Youngster got given the Job .. Was it because someone in the team had been accused of using Hand tape for a similar affect !!!!!!! So they wanted someone else to take the mantle .... Disgraceful behaviour by senior pros ... #SAvAUS— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 24, 2018
“There was 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.”
Smith has already been banned for the fourth and final Test against South Africa and been removed as captain of Indian Premier League side the Rajasthan Royals.
Bancroft has also been punished by the International Cricket Council while the Daily Telegraph has reported head coach Darren Lehmann – who Smith said was not involved in the plan – will offer his resignation.
Further sanctions could also be on the way following the incident with Cricket Australia’s chief executive James Sutherland due in Johannesburg on Tuesday for crisis talks.
Vaughan does not agree with suggestions that Smith should be handed a life ban but believes the legacy of this Australia side will be forever tainted by the scandal.
He said: “It doesn’t really matter what they achieve in their careers. They’re going be known as a team that cheated.”
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