England pace bowler Stuart Broad branded the Australians hypocrites today as the ball-tampering scandal erupted in South Africa amid continuing tension there over verbal abuse involving players and spectators.
Broad also questioned why Australia would want to tamper with the ball when they managed to generate reverse swing in the recent Ashes series in conditions that “you wouldn’t expect the ball to reverse”.
“It’s a shame,” Broad said when questioned about the scandal in South Africa, at the end of the fourth day’s play in the first Test between England and New Zealand in Auckland.
Television footage has shown Australian fielder Cameron Bancroft taking an object out of his pocket and appearing to rub it on the ball in the third Test in Cape Town on Saturday.
Bancroft has been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball and his captain Steve Smith has admitted that the tampering, intended to encourage reverse swing, had been planned by senior Australian players.
There have been growing calls for him to be sacked as captain after his admission.
Broad said he found it difficult to understand why Smith would authorise the illegal scuffing of the ball.
“Look at the Ashes series that we’ve just played. In virtually all of those Test matches they reverse-swung the ball in, sometimes, conditions that you wouldn’t expect the ball to reverse,” he said.
“So I don’t understand why they’ve changed their method for this one game.”
Broad said he had to take Smith’s word that they had not used that tactic before.
“Steve said it’s the first time they’ve tried it and there’s no evidence that they were doing this in the Ashes series from what I’ve seen.”
The Australia-South Africa series has also been marred by conflict over abuse involving both players and fans. Broad said he found it amusing that Australian coach Darren Lehmann could be critical of the abuse his players had received from some South African spectators.
“Any England players who’ve toured Australia can laugh at those comments because some of the things we hear on the pitch by Australian supporters, known as banter, well having toured South Africa I know it’s worse than South Africa.”
Asked if he felt there was an element of hypocrisy in the Australian complaint, Broad said: “That’s your word, not mine but I would agree with you.”
Broad referred to the 2013 England tour of Australia when Lehmann “basically asked the country to send an opposition player home crying. We lost the series, but it didn’t make me cry, I quite enjoyed the series and the banter.
“I then can’t understand why he’s then come out and moaned about a different country and what they’re saying to (the Australian) players.
“Just from the outside, it looks like Australia have started a lot of fights but then moan when someone comes back.”