Faced with severe criticism over the ball-tampering row from former cricketers to fans and the media, Australian skipper Steve Smith and opener Cameron Bancroft received some unlikely support from former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra.
Faced with severe criticism over the ball-tampering row from former cricketers to fans and the media, Australian skipper Steve Smith and opener Cameron Bancroft received some unlikely support from former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra. While Nehra has not sought to defend the act of ball tampering per say, he has stated that a life ban as punishment to the erring cricketers would be too harsh a punishment. “Life ban will be really harsh for them. Not just for them, but for any player,” Nehra said, adding that both the players should be given credit for coming out and admitting their mistake.
Nehra said that one Test match ban is enough for both the players. “You have to give them credit that they admitted their mistake. I think to step down from the captaincy and one test match ban is enough for both the players,” the left-arm pacer who was appointed as the bowling coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore for IPL 2018 said.
Apart from Nehra, former New Zealand batsman Mark Richardson also defended the duo saying that the extreme reaction was because Australians have usually been quick to make cheating accusations while casting themselves as paragons. “It’s very, very difficult to go to a former cricketer and get him to be totally outraged about ball-tampering because it would quickly make people hypocrites,” the player said while claiming that interference to get the ball to reverse swing was common in his playing days.
Steve Smith stepped down as Australia’s captain and was banned for one Test by the ICC after he admitted that the Australian cricket team’s think tank had pre-planned the tampering. He was also fined 100 per cent of the match fee while Cameron Bancroft was fined 25 per cent match fee and escaped suspension.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland said he would be heading over to South Africa later on Monday to join integrity chief Iain Roy, who is conducting the investigation. “I am travelling to Johannesburg this evening and will arrive Tuesday morning local time to meet Iain to understand the findings of the investigation to that point, and to determine recommended outcomes,” Sutherland said in a statement.
The chairman of Cricket Australia, David Peever said the body will be able to fully update the Australian public on the findings on Wednesday morning Australia time.