Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi on Sunday termed the ball tampering scandal involving top Australian cricketers “one of modern day cricket’s great tragedies” and held the players responsible for plunging the sport into crisis.
The embattled Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner stood down as captain and vice-captain respectively for rest of Australia’s third Test match against South Africa while Cricket Australia investigated a ball-tampering scandal during the third day of the game.
“There is no doubt there has been a mistake and the players are responsible for this. The captain has accepted it, acknowledged the mistake, top management has admitted, this is not a handiwork of one or two players. It’s very sad, I would like to think it as one of great tragedies of modern cricket,” Bedi said in New Delhi on Sunday.
Not one to hold back his opinions on issues pertaining to the game, Bedi said it is important that the right message is passed on to the youngsters.
“According to me, no limit could be prescribed for strict action. We do mislead, misguide kids — winning at any cost is a message that is wrong. Winning is important, but winning by fair means, is the message we must spread,” the legendary left-arm spinner said.
CA chief James Sutherland on Sunday announced an investigation into the scandal, which has plunged Australian cricket into crisis and resulted in widespread condemnation at home, including from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Television footage had showed Smith’s teammate Cameron Bancroft, 25, taking a yellow object out of his pocket while fielding in the post-lunch session and appearing to rub it on the ball.
He was later charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball.
Without getting into the specifics, former India player Ajay Jadeja said the onus lies with the International Cricket Council to see where the game is heading.
“If you look at anybody shining the ball what is he doing, he is also changing the state of the ball, so I am yet to understand what the laws are, because I haven’t seen the incident.
“But the ball is something that doesn’t stay the same, it’s not baseball which you change every time. The charm of the game is that you have to play differently with new ball, the old ball, the reverse swing. It all depends on the lawmakers how they want to see the game where.”
Bedi and Jadeja were speaking on the sidelines of a 10-over exhibition match between ‘High Commissions’ and ‘Legendary Cricketers’ as part of Commonwealth Cultural Forum, which used cricket to spread awareness about epilepsy.
“I am pleasantly surprised that many people have come to see and take part in the match. This is a beautiful way to express oneself that this disease has no nationality, anybody can get it, so I congratulate the people who have come to Delhi to create awareness about the disease. Its’ a very laudable cause,” Bedi said.
Jadeja said on the occasion, “It’s wonderful if you can use a sport like cricket to spread awareness and spread a message around, what could be better than that, and the best thing for me today was to be a part of birthday celebrations of my coach Gursharan Singh.”