Qantas Tour of South Africa

PM: Ball tampering news ‘beggars belief’

A round-up of what some of the biggest names in cricket, and Australian politics, have said about the Australian Cricket team ball tampering scandal in Cape Town

Cricket Network

25 March 2018, 06:08 PM AEST

Massive names in cricket and politics weigh in

After the revelations of deliberate ball tampering by Australian players in Cape Town overnight, here’s how Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and some of the most prominent figures in the game reacted. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

“We all work up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa.

“It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating.

“After all, our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play.

“How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief.

“I’ve spoken with David Peever, the Chairman of Cricket Australia, a few moments ago and I’ve expressed to him very clearly and unequivocally my disappointment and my concern about the events in South Africa.

“He has said to me that Cricket Australia will be responding decisively, as they should.

“It’s their responsibility to deal with it, but I have to say that (to) the whole nation, who holds those who wear the Baggy Green up on a pedestal, about as high as you can get in Australia … this is a shocking disappointment.

“It’s wrong, and I look forward to Cricket Australia taking decisive action soon.”

Australian Sports Commission (ASC)

"The ASC condemns cheating of any form in sport. The ASC expects and requires that Australian teams and athletes demonstrate unimpeachable integrity in representing our country.

"The Australian cricket team are iconic representatives of our country. The example they set matters a great deal to Australia and to the thousands of young Australians playing or enjoying the sport of cricket and who look up to the national team as role models.

"Given the admission by Australian captain Steve Smith, the ASC calls for him to be stood down immediately by Cricket Australia, along with any other members of the team leadership group or coaching staff who had prior awareness of, or involvement in, the plan to tamper with the ball.

"This can occur while Cricket Australia completes a full investigation.”

Bancroft, Smith reveal ball tampering plan

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia CEO

"I'm not happy about this at all.

"I don't want to be here talking to you (media) but I am and it's my responsibility, but I feel like Australian cricket fans feel right now.

"My job is to understand the facts and then make a decision accordingly.

"Australian cricket fans want to be proud of their cricket team, and I think this morning they have every reason to wake up and not be proud of the team.

"It's a very sad day for Australian cricket.

"That can't be the end of it, we have a responsibility to take this further and to understand more about the issue. 

"We are extremely disappointed and shocked at what we woke up to this morning, and we are dealing with this issue with the utmost urgency and seriousness.

"We certainly don't have all of the evidence at hand and we need someone to go over there and talk to the relevant people involved to understand what happened and the detail, and then we'll make appropriate decisions as to next steps."

Sutherland: It's a sad day for Australian cricket

Graeme Smith (on Cricket Network)

"I'm quite amazed the umpire hasn't changed the ball at all after the incident. 

"I've never known anything like that before. I've watched a lot of teams chew chewing gum, suck sweets, it's still saliva going onto the ball. 

"But to actually take a foreign object to rough up the side... I've never heard or seen anything like that before in my life. 

"That footage (of Bancroft manipulating the ball) is quite scary actually."

Adam Gilchrist (on Channel Ten’s F1 Grand Prix coverage)

"Australian cricket now and the integrity of Australian cricket is the laughing stock of world sport.

"We're very quick to damn nations that cheat in any way or go beyond the rules.

"It's black and white. This clearly is against the laws of the game and we've just had our national captain admit they sat down, premeditated, pre-planned a way to cheat.

“I'm not sure (Smith) can remain captain.

“I think it's a pretty tough position to hold after you've admitted to what you've admitted to, (to be able to) carry on with any faith from anyone watching.

“We'll wait and see whether he's told, or whether he stands aside.”

Simon Katich (on SEN's ‘Whateley’ show)

"They (CA) have got no option but to sack Smith, Warner and Lehmann.

"This was premeditated, it was calculated at the (lunch) break – those guys are in charge of Cameron Bancroft behaving the way he did.

"He (Bancroft) will cop a fine and Test match suspension through the match referee because he executed it, but it’s a bigger problem than that.

"He’s been instructed to do this, and anyone in cricket knows that the coach and the captain are in control of what happens in a team.

"I love Steve Smith, he’s a fantastic player but unfortunately he’s made a serious error of judgement and I think it’s going to cost him the captaincy of Australia because the bigger picture is far more important.

"If CA come out of this and condone sledging, they condone blatant cheating then the message they send to the thousands of kids who aspire to wear the Baggy Green (Cap) … is far worse than the message of a few guys losing their jobs.”

Michael Clarke (on Channel Nine's ‘Sport Sunday’)

"If we're going to make a decision on Steve Smith, we have to make the same decision on all of the leadership group.

"If Steve Smith was to be stood down or sacked, you couldn't give the leadership to somebody else in that leadership group because he (Smith) has made it very clear that they made the decision.

"If people need to be sacked, if accountability needs to be shown, unfortunately that's the mistake that's been made.

"In my opinion, what is important is this never happens again in our game."

Brad Hogg (on Fox Sports News)

"(Cameron Bancroft is) looking at Steve Smith, these older players in the team, they're very impressionable on such a young player.

"He wants to find his feet in that particular team.

"He'll do anything, he'll go through a brick wall for his teammates; especially for his leader.

"I think he's been thrown under the bus here."

Allan Border (on Fox Sports)

"You’re disappointed that a team could be so silly and be caught doing this.

"Who would’ve thought you’d chuck a piece of sandpaper — as has been alleged — in your pocket to scrub one side of the ball to help it swing reverse?

"I never thought of that sort of caper.

"It’s hard to explain your emotions when it comes to seeing the Australian team doing something like this — you just feel embarrassed and disappointed.

"It’s not the end of the world. But it is a sad day for cricket.

"On a day of disappointing and embarrassing actions, Steve Smith does deserve some credit for fronting up to the press conference and owning up to the ball-tampering plan.

"He hasn’t exactly enhanced his reputation, but at least he’s done the right thing on that front.”

Adam Voges (on SEN)

"Personally, I agree with (Smith), he is (still) the right man for the job albeit he has made a mistake.

"I think there’s so many good things he does do that this is one very poor lack of judgement on his behalf and on the team’s behalf.

"This has tarnished both their reputations and they’re going to have to work hard to win back the respect of not only the cricketing world, but the general public as well.

"It’s something that (Bancroft) will have to live with as a player, his name will be tarnished. As will Steve Smith’s given the whole leadership group was aware of the plan.

"There’s genuine remorse about this decision, it’s a really poor mistake on their behalf and something they’ll both have to live with, as will the reputation of the Australian cricket team.”

Mike Atherton (on Sky Sports News)

The former England captain - who referenced his own ball-tampering controversy in 1994 when he was fined for using dirt from his pockets to dry his hands - suggested Smith would be considering his future as captain despite claiming he had no intention to stand down.

"The first thing I did was taking Graham Gooch straight away to the loo at the back of the dressing room and saying 'should I step down?' and he said 'no, do not do that'. Whether that was the right advice or not, I don't know.

"So I was quite surprised to hear Steve Smith say that straight away because I certainly had doubts as to whether that was the right thing to do and I'm sure he'll be having doubts as well.

"Cricket Australia will be asking questions of Steve Smith - 'you're the captain, are you in control of the ship?'.

"It has been a difficult series in terms of the behaviour from both sides and it has just given the impression that things are a little out of control.”

Alistair Cook (on BBC Test Match Special)

"It's sad for cricket. The guys who are in the limelight have a responsibility to play cricket in the right way.

"There are days when things don't go your way - and the first day here in Auckland (when England were bowled out for 58) was a prime example of that - but there is always a way to get back into the game.

"We have to play by the rules. As captain, you are responsible for the other 10 guys and are the public figure for that.

"I'm sure Steve Smith is not in a very comfortable position; and in one sense you do feel for him because I know what the pressure is like as captain of a country.

"You live and die by the sword."

Nasser Hussain (on Sky Sports News)

"The Australian camp has been lecturing people over the last few months on how the game should be played, and a line that shouldn't be crossed. Well, it looks like that Australian hierarchy are on the wrong side of the line here.

"It has gone too far. Some of the stuff that has come out of the Australian camp, especially, has been laughable.

"Warner has gone round the world sledging people. He then gets it back from De Kock, and he and the Australian camp suddenly decide that a line has been crossed. I don't know who the Australians are to tell you what that line is and who has crossed that line.

"It has bubbled up again in the last couple of days, because Warner got it badly, terribly from the South African crowd - I don't agree with any of this - and again Lehmann thinks another line has been crossed.

"You can't do that. Here is a coach that, in 2013, stated that every Australian fan should send Stuart Broad home crying and should sledge him. Now he is saying crowds shouldn't sledge. There seem to be double standards.

"It's not needed. Just macho rubbish and it makes me cross. Just play your cricket and let bat or ball do the talking."

Bancroft charged, Smith admits ball tampering ploy