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Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff firmly believes that Australia have been cheating for years.
Flintoff’s comments come after Australia captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft will be sent home from South Africa on Wednesday for their involvement in a ball tampering scandal.
Following the third day of the third Test against the Proteas in Cape Town, Smith and Bancroft admitted that they had come up with a plan to alter the condition of the ball.
However, Flintoff thinks Australia have been doing similar things in the past, and only owned up to what happened after they were caught in the act.
“Australia attempted a lot of times to be ‘poor us, we’re fine, we don’t cross the mark’,” Flintoff told BBC 5 live as quoted by the Daily Mail. ‘But you do lads to be honest, you’ve done it for years and years and years and now you’re getting found out.”
The whole incident occurred when Bancroft was seen rubbing a foreign object on the ball and then taking the mysterious yellow sandpaper-like item out of his pocket and putting it down his trousers.
“I think it’s very thick, it’s embarrassing for the people involved. I think the debate is to what extent are you cheating,” Flintoff said. “You’ve heard all sorts of stories about ball tampering, all these things have gone on over time and now is the time to draw a line. What we’ve seen is cheating, there’s no two ways about it.
“It’s not a subtlety of [using] sun cream or sucking on a mint. Sometimes when it comes to sport, and it comes to cricket, the moral compass has been a little bit skewed. What they think is acceptable and right, I’m not quite sure at times.”
The 40-year-old added that the whole incident has tarnished the image of Australian cricket.
“The Australians have always been: ‘Oh, we’ll dish it out, but then people come back at us and we’ll whinge’.
“Australians think they’re the best. They think that they’re strongest, they think they’re the best cricket team in the world. And to think: ‘Actually, we’ve had to cheat to beat South Africa, who aren’t that good’. That is a massive kick in the nuts.”