Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Australia opener Cameron Bancroft and captain Steve Smith have admitted that they tampered with the ball on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
About 20 minutes before the tea break, cameras caught Bancroft taking a mysterious yellow paper-like item out of his pocket and putting it down his trousers.
Australia’s Cameron Bancroft shines the ball and the moves a yellow material from his right pocket into his underwear when the umpires later intervenepic.twitter.com/CW2qfCsVci
— The Cricket Paper (@TheCricketPaper) March 24, 2018
Bancroft and Smith both spoke to on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth. During their discussion, Bancroft removed the item from his pocket rather than where he had put it earlier.
Bancroft’s actions sparked accusations that he was ball tampering, and after play concluded on the third day, he conceded that he had attempted to alter the condition of the ball.
“I had discussions with the match officials, I’ve been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball,” Bancroft was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “We had a discussion during the break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition, it didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball. I was cited on the screen and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers.”
Smith, meanwhile, confirmed that Australia’s leadership group were aware of the fact that Bancroft was going to tamper with the ball.
“The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch,” he said. “I am not proud of what’s happened. It’s not within the spirit of the game. My integrity, the team’s integrity and the leadership group’s integrity has come into question. It wont happen again.
“It was the leadership group’s idea. Poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren’t involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this. This is the first time it has happened under my leadership. We saw this game as such as an important game. We’ve seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn’t seem like it was going to go. It’s such poor actions. Deeply regrettable and wont happen again. I can promise you. I can promise you this is the first time it has happened.
“I am embarrassed. I know the boys in the shed are embarrassed as well. Being the leader I am incredibly sorry. If we weren’t caught, I would still regret it.”
While Smith was extremely “embarrassed” about the incident, he made it clear that he has no intention of resigning as Australia’s captain.
“I won’t consider stepping down [from captaincy],” he said. “I still think I am the right person for the job. Today was a big mistake on my part and on the leadership group as well. I have to take control of the ship. This is something I am not proud of. It’s something I hope I can learn from and come back from. I am embarrassed. It is a big error in judgement.”