Qantas Tour of South Africa

Criticism of tampering trio 'out of line'

Moises Henriques leaps to the defence of banned Australian players following ball-tampering scandal

Cricket Network

11 April 2018, 01:26 PM AEST

NSW and Australia allrounder Moises Henriques has thrown his support behind the three Australian players banned for ball tampering, saying some criticism of the trio has been "a little bit out of line".

Henriques is one of the few current players to publicly express his view on the saga, which led to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft all being handed lengthy bans by Cricket Australia.

Bancroft charged, Smith admits ball tampering ploy

The 31-year-old said he is "not condoning ball tampering at any stage" but that he felt compelled to defend the trio, who have been heavily criticised since the scandal erupted in South Africa.

He said the trio broke the laws of the game to enhance the team's chances of winning the match, rather than for any personal gain.

"There are two kinds of people who break the rules in sport; ones that do it for their own personal gain, whether that be financial or performance, and there's ones that try and do it for the team and so the team can win," he told SEN radio.

"And I'm not saying the second one is okay, it's definitely not okay, I'm just saying I find one easier to forgive than the other.

Henriques is a long-time teammate of Smith's at domestic level // Getty
Henriques is a long-time teammate of Smith's at domestic level // Getty

"The batters are involved here ... they're not cheating for themselves and they're not breaking the rules for their own statistical gain so they can average 50 rather than 40. They're doing it for the bowlers.

"They did the wrong thing, but they're trying to do it so the team wins. They're not fixing a match where they're trying to purposely lose a game for their own financial gain.

"There's grey areas in terms of the character of these people.

"They broke the rules, they're being punished and fair enough. But some of the comments about their character are a little bit out of line."

When it was put to Henriques that the trio did stand to gain finanically had Australia won the match and the series, he said any suggestion that the trio tampered with the ball for a financial gain was "absolute garbage".

Henriques and Warner have played together at NSW and Sunrisers Hyderabad // Getty
Henriques and Warner have played together at NSW and in the IPL // Getty

"Those guys are earning so much money, to argue that the little amount they'd be earning on top of a match payment if they won, that's not beneficial at all," he said.

"If there are players in the team relying on those win bonuses, you're probably picking the wrong people in the team anyway.

"There's absolutely no chance that any of those three guys would do it ... for the sake of the extra five or 10 per cent that you get for winning the match. It's such a small amount you don't even think about it."

Henriques has been relatively active on social media during the scandal and again took to Twitter on Wednesday morning before expanding on his views in the radio interview.

As long-time teammates of Smith and Warner, Henriques said he could no longer stand by while the integrity and character of his friends were being called into question.

"There's people out there copping a fair bit of flak and I was trying to offer a slightly different light on the character of these people," he said.

"I ask people to put themselves in their shoes and do be aware when they're passing judgements that they're just human beings as well.

"I know they're role models and they're paid to be and they're well looked after, but a tough time is a tough time.

"And I knew I was going to cop a fair bit of flak after the tweets, but I just can't sit back and listen to some of the things that are being said about people who, underneath it all, are actually pretty good people in my eyes."

The banned trio last week all accepted their sanctions from Cricket Australia: one-year bans for Smith and Warner and nine months for Bancroft.

On Wednesday, the three players were left off the list of 20 nationally-contracted players for the 2018-19 season.