Image courtesy of: Zimbio
India spinner Harbhajan Singh has lashed out at the International Cricket Council (ICC) for handing Australia captain Steve Smith and opener Cameron Bancroft lenient punishments after they admitted to ball tampering.
On the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, Bancroft was seen taking a mysterious yellow paper-like item out of his pocket and putting it down his trousers.
This sparked accusations of ball tampering, and both Bancroft and Australia captain Steve Smith admitted that they had in fact attempted to alter the condition of the ball.
Smith was banned for one Test and fined 100 percent of his match fee, while Bancroft was docked 75 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points.
However, Harbhajan feels that Smith and Bancroft should have received harsher sanctions since they admitted to committing an illegal act. He also slammed the ICC for treating Australian players different than others.
“It is shocking. When I went for my hearing (Monkeygate incident involving Andrew Symonds), they, without any evidence, video or recording, banned me for three Test matches. And here you have all the evidence and you get one Test-match ban,” he was quoted as saying by India Today. “And the guy who is doing [it] is getting away with [being fined] 75 per cent of his match fee. They could have taken much harsher calls.
“This is ridiculous. In my case I was banned for three straight games. That shows that Australia they have their own match referees, their own umpires and maybe ruling in ICC. I really don’t know what kind of fair play is this from the ICC. They didn’t even find me guilty and banned me, but here they have got the footage and everything but not banned him (Bancroft). But [they] banned Smith for a game and fined [him] his match fee.
“But that goes to show that different people, different rules. It’s shocking to me and ICC should have taken stronger steps to show the game is above anything. This is not done, they got away with nothing.”
Harbhajan also suspects that this isn’t the first time the Australian team have engaged is such activities.
“They feel the know the game better than anyone and feel they can get away with everything,” he said. “This is probably not the first time they are doing this. This is a very stupid move and coming from the Australian dressing room, this is not a surprise.
“They have been doing a lot of things which they got away with, but this time they have got caught [on] camera.”