Warne shares his thoughts on the ball tampering incident

Shane Warne disappointed Steve Smith David Warner Cameron Bancroft ball tampering Australia South Africa cricket

Shane Warne: “To hear that the Australian cricket team had been involved in premeditated cheating is something that is embarrassing”

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Legendary Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne has lashed out at Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their involvement in the ball tampering scandal, but believes that the punishments Cricket Australia handed down were too harsh.

Cricket Australia banned Smith and Warner for 12 months, while Bancroft was suspended for nine months. Smith and Warner are also not allowed to captain Australia for two years.

In addition to this, the trio will be sent home from South Africa on Wednesday and not take part in the fourth Test in Johannesburg, which begins on Friday. As a result, Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns were called up as their replacements.

“To hear that the Australian cricket team had been involved in premeditated cheating is something that is embarrassing,” Warne wrote for News Ltd as quoted by cricket.com.au. “But the jump to hysteria is something that has elevated the offence beyond what they actually did, and maybe we’re at a point where the punishment just might not fit the crime.

“The hysteria has gone worldwide … But what are the players guilty of? Cheating via ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute.

“Their opposing captain in this series, South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, has been charged with ball-tampering twice, and opening bowler Vernon Philander once.

“Then there’s the idea of premeditated cheating. But are there levels of ball tampering, or is it just ball tampering? Is putting a mint in your pocket so you can shine a ball on the field premeditated cheating, or just ball tampering? What about putting sunscreen on the ball? You either ball tamper or you don’t. For that reason, I don’t think the punishment is fitting the crime.”

There has been a lot of debate about whether head coach Darren Lehmann knew about the plan to tamper with the ball, even though Cricket Australia cleared his name and insisted that he would not be stepping down from his position.

Sharing his views on the matter, Warne wrote: “Darren Lehmann has been cleared of knowing what went on too, which has surprised plenty, but that’s all part of the hysteria.

“It’s easy to say ‘as if Boof didn’t know’. But all we can go is what we’ve been told. This is too big a deal, too big a story, there is too much at stake for the game and (CA chief executive) James Sutherland to lose, not (to) tell the truth.

“We are all struggling to believe what he said, that it was just the three players who knew what was happening, that the coach had to know. We all saw him on the walkie talkie. But you have to take James at his word.”

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