Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has made it clear that he doesn’t buy into the fact that Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were the only Australian players that knew about the ball tampering scandal.
It is understood that Warner played a leading role in the scandal, which occurred on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, as he told fellow opening batsman Cameron Bancroft to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper.
As a result, Warner and Smith were banned for 12 months by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft was suspended for nine months. Smith won’t be allowed to captain Australia for two years, while Warner won’t be considered for leadership roles in the future.
However, Flintoff reiterated that he firmly believes other players were aware of the plan to alter the condition of the ball.
“I am struggling to think that not everyone (in the team) knew,” Flintoff told the BBC as quoted by the Daily Mail. “I might be completely wrong but you talk about it – you talk about how you’re going to treat the ball. The ball in cricket is so important.
“To say that a bowler has got a ball in his hands, or anybody else in the field does not know that this ball has been tampered with is absolute nonsense.
“You talk and talk and talk about how you’re going to look after this ball. To then say that other people didn’t know; if that’s the case I feel sorry for (Australia left-arm fast bowler) Mitchell Starc.
“He’s got the ball in his hands, he’s running in thinking, ‘he’s Wasim Akram’. This ball’s moving everywhere, he’s thinking, ‘I’m cracking it here, I’m doing something which is unbelievable’. Don’t tell me you didn’t know.”
When asked if he agreed with the sanctions Cricket Australia handed down on Smith, Warner and Bancroft, Flintoff said: “No – I think the crime doesn’t warrant that. One of the things which has really annoyed me is that I’ve seen people raising their profile on the back of other people’s misery.
“I’ve seen people I’ve played with, who have been good to me; I have seen them change in the space of two seconds.
“All of a sudden (they say) ‘let’s call for their head, this is disgusting, this is disgraceful’. Some of them are in glass houses: don’t be chucking your stones lads. We’ve done a few things which aren’t particularly in the rules — not as bad as that – and it changes.
“Then I saw Steve Smith on TV crying his eyes out, so upset, and I put a tweet out saying: ‘Are you happy now? Is that what you wanted’?”