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 and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, the player caught on camera attempting to doctor the ball with a piece of tape, were sent home by Cricket Australia after an incident during the third Test loss to South Africa in Cape Town which has dragged Australian cricket’s reputation through the mud.
Vice-captain David Warner has also been banished from the tour. Head coach Darren Lehmann – a former international team-mate of Waugh’s – has retained his position.
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, quoted on Cricket Australia’s website, 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, skillful 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.
“I will support all positive action to ensure an outcome for the betterment of the game, regaining the trust and faith of every fan of cricket.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
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