The Australian cricket team which has entertained and inspired fans for years with its never-die attitude stands at a crucial juncture following the ball-tampering scandal involving skipper Steve Smith, opener Cameron Bancroft and others.
The Australian cricket team which has entertained and inspired fans for years with its never-die attitude stands at a crucial juncture following the ball-tampering scandal involving skipper Steve Smith, opener Cameron Bancroft and others. Even though the Australian captain claimed that this was a one-off mistake, the incidents leading to the scandal speak otherwise. The South African broadcasters were tipped off that the Australian team was tampering with the ball in the first two Tests, setting it on a mission to catch the guilty.
The South African batsmen had reportedly complained to the umpires that David Warner was using tape on his hand to rough up the ball during the second Test. The complaint wasn’t taken seriously by the umpires but South Africa’s SuperSport network made it a mission to track the ball during its path from keeper Tim Paine to the bowler during the third Test and in the process caught Cameron Bancroft’s disgraceful act in Cape Town.
The man who had tipped the broadcasters was none other than former South African Test fast bowler and now commentator Fanie de Villiers. While speaking to RNS radio, De Villiers said that he had sensed that the Australians were doing something with the ball.
“I said earlier on, that if they could get reverse swing in the 26th, 27th, 28th over then they’re doing something different from what everyone else does,” de Villiers said. The former cricketer said that it was then he asked the cameraman to keep an eye on the Australian players as they were using something.
De Villiers said that it took an hour-and-a-half until the cameraman saw something and then they started following Bancroft and they actually caught him out at the end. “It’s impossible for the ball to get altered like that on cricket wickets where we knew there was grass on, not a Pakistani wicket where there’s cracks every centimetre,” he said.
The former fast-bowler said that the conditions in South Africa allow the ball to maintain its shape until something is used to tamper with it. He said the Australians were forced to use unfair means as the South African bowlers were getting the reverse swing before the 30th over.
He said that the visitors had their own doubts over South Africa’s tactics. “How the f … k could they get the ball to reverse swing after 18 overs yesterday?” one Australian player was quoted as saying by a commentator during the first Test.
Meanwhile, England pacer Stuart Broad has also expressed his concerns over the issue, saying, “If you look at the Ashes series we’ve just played, they reverse swung the ball in nearly all of those Test matches sometimes in conditions where you wouldn’t expect the ball to reverse.” Broad questioned if this was the case why did Australians change their method?