A day after Australia skipper Steve Smith and youngster Cameron Bancroft admitted to tampering with the ball during the third day of the first Test, former Australia captain Michael Clarke said that he is appalled that the team resorted to such measures. Speaking in an interview to Channel Nine’s Sports Sunday program, the 36-year old described the incident as “disgraceful” and “premeditated, blatant cheating”, according to cricket.co.au, and said, “The team has made a set plan that we’re going to cheat to help us win this game of cricket. I’m appalled that it was even thought about,” he said.
The 2015-World Cup-winning captain further added that he is upset that the leadership group asked a youngster (Bancroft) for tampering with the ball. “I can’t believe if the leadership group has made a decision to do this, that they’ve gone and got the young kid who’s playing his eighth Test match to do that. As a leader, you can’t ask somebody to do something you’re not willing to do yourself,” he said.
WHAT THE …….. HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream.
— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) 24 March 2018
Speaking on the actions that need to be taken after the incident, the former right-hand batsman said that the decision must be same for the entire ‘leadership group’.
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“If we’re going to make a decision on Steve Smith, we have to make the same decision on all of the leadership group. If Steve Smith was to be stood down or sacked, you couldn’t give the leadership to somebody else in that leadership group because he (Smith) has made it very clear that they made the decision. If people need to be sacked, if accountability needs to be shown, unfortunately that’s the mistake that’s been made. In my opinion, what is important is this never happens again in our game,” he said.
Clarke further went on to agree to the recent claims that Australia team has presented a negative public image throughout the series in South Africa. “I don’t know if they were angry, if they were tired, if they were frustrated – I don’t know why, but they were. Every little thing that has happened on this tour, they’ve whined, they’ve complained, they haven’t got their own way. I feel like everyone’s under pressure in that changeroom, they feel like they need to do something like this to beat South Africa and this is what they’ve gone to. Nobody’s thought about it at all,” he said.
— Laurie Reid (@Laurie_Reid1) 24 March 2018
The former batsman said that he believes the current Australia team to be the best team in the world but added, “If we need to cheat to beat anyone in any conditions, for any reason there is a deep, deep problem with what we are doing with our sport.”
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Cameron Bancroft at a press conference on Saturday was admitted to tampering the ball using a piece of sticky yellow tape. Skipper Steve Smith added that he and other senior players came up with the idea to try and change the condition of the ball.