Ex-Aussie captain Michael Clarke wishes ball tampering just a dream

The team, in a plot led by captain Steve Smith and senior players, confessed to ball tampering against South Africa in the third test at Cape Town on Saturday.

Published: 25th March 2018 02:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2018 02:03 PM   |  A+A-

Former Australian cricket skipper Michael Clarke (File |AFP)

By Associated Press

The Australian cricket team's ball-tampering scandal has been called a "national day of shame" by several ex-cricketers. And former captain Michael Clarke hoped he was just dreaming when he first heard the news.

"WHAT THE ...... HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream," Clarke tweeted.

The team, in a plot led by captain Steve Smith and senior players, confessed to ball tampering against South Africa in the third test at Cape Town on Saturday.

Cameron Bancroft carried out the tampering by using yellow adhesive tape to pick up dirt and rub it on the ball to rough it up in an attempt to get it to reverse swing on day three at Newlands. But Bancroft was caught doing it on the field by television cameras, and then attempted to hide the evidence by shoving the tape down his trousers before he was questioned by umpires.

Smith said he has no plans to resign. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Sunday he had decided to take no immediate action against Smith and that he would send an investigative team to South Africa to look into all aspects before deciding what action to take.

He called it a "very sad day for Australian cricket" and said he was "extremely disappointed and shocked" by the news.

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

"One of the unique things about the game of cricket, is it is to be played not only within the laws of the game, but in the spirit of the game. And, activities on the field yesterday, are neither within the laws of the game or the spirit of the game."

Australia trails South Africa by 294 runs. The four-test series is level 1-1.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan was scathing in his criticism of the Australians.

"Steve Smith, his Team & ALL the management will have to accept that whatever happens in their careers they will all be known for trying to CHEAT the game," Vaughan tweeted.

Former Australia batsman Jimmy Maher called it a national day of shame for the country "and for the entire cricket world, really."

Another former England captain, Nasser Hussain, accused Australia of a double standard.

"The Australian camp has been lecturing people lately on how the game should be played and a line that shouldn't be crossed," Hussain told Britain's Sky Sports. "Some of the stuff that has come out of the Australian camp, especially, has been laughable.

"Well, it looks like they're on the wrong side of the line here. It looks terrible, a premeditated move to get reverse swing and a blatant attempt to ball tamper."

The Daily Telegraph in Sydney headlined: "Smith's shock admission: We're cheats."

"Dark day for Australian cricket as Steve Smith admits plans to cheat," the Sydney Morning Herald added.

Former Australia legspinner Shane Warne said: "I don't care who you are, you can't tamper with the ball. I know the Australian sides I played in never did anything like that."

Former Australian captain Allan Border added: "You're kidding yourself if you think you can get away with that."

In sports-mad Australia, of course, the prime minister had to comment.

"Our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. "How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief." He said he looked forward to the national body taking "decisive action soon."

The Barmy Army following England's exploits at Auckland in the first test against New Zealand added their expected humorous twist to the ball-tampering news by wearing yellow tape on their arms, hands or heads to the fourth day at Eden Park on Sunday.


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