South Africa batsman AB de Villiers said he felt sorry for the Australian cricket team for the ball-tampering scandal and especially their then-captain Steve Smith as he thought that the punishment was rather harsh.
Speaking on South Africa’s historic 3-1 victory over Australia last month, De Villiers, who is currently playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in Indian Premier League 2018, said in an interview to Guardian that he felt sorry for the Australian team. “It was blown up massively. Yes it is a serious matter but it was taken to a level where it really hurt them individually and I felt sorry for them. Especially Smith, who stood up thinking he was doing the right thing by his players. The way he was punished was harsh,” he said.
“Wrong is wrong. Guys try to find a way to get the ball to reverse but you have to stay in the laws. Sandpaper? Sheesh, I don’t know. I have it in my bag but that’s for cleaning my bat.”
Speaking on the series that was dominated by sledging, disciplinary hearings, ball tampering as well as bans, De Villiers said, “It was rough. But it was the best series I have been a part of. There were scandals that weren’t called for but cricket-wise, the way we dominated was, well, I haven’t been part of a team that has done that to them.”
“It was seriously tough cricket but that’s how Tests should be played. There was all this talk about ‘the line’ and you don’t want to get too personal. But letting a player know there is a series on the line and he is about to lose it for his country, that is part of the game. That’s what we did.”
“I felt they got quite personal. Although we had an instance in Durban where one of our players [De Kock] did too … that’s a long story. But overall, I loved the toughness of the cricket played. It’s just the rest that was uncalled for,” said De Villiers.