Cricket fraternity expresses disappointment as Bancroft, Smith admit to ball-tampering

As Australian skipper Steve Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft admitted to charges of ball-tampering during the third day of the third Test match at Newlands against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday, the cricket fraternity expressed shock and disappointment.

"WHAT THE ........ HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream," wrote former Australian skipper Michael Clarke.

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

— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 24, 2018

Meanwhile, former England captain Michael Vaughan said that Smith and the entire team will have to bear the brunt of this particular incident in their careers.

"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 ... #SAvAUS," wrote Vaughan.

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 ... #SAvAUS

— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 24, 2018

"The more you think about what has happened in Cape Town the more I realise the Leadership needs to be replaced ... Positions are untenable ... & I say that with the utmost respect for most of that group ... #SAvAUS," another tweet from Vaughan said.

The more you think about what has happened in Cape Town the more I realise the Leadership needs to be replaced ... Positions are untenable ... & I say that with the utmost respect for most of that group ... #SAvAUS

— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 24, 2018

Former Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson too was displeased.

"Shocked & disappointed #SAvsAUS," he wrote.

Shocked & disappointed #SAvsAUS

— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) March 24, 2018

Former English batsman Kevin Pietersen called it the greatest test in Darren Lehmann's career as the Australian coach.

"My 2cents worth - This will be Darren Lehmann's greatest test as a coach, cos I will struggle to believe that this was all Bancroft's idea. #SandpaperGate," Pietersen said.

My 2cents worth - This will be Darren Lehmann's greatest test as a coach, cos I will struggle to believe that this was all Bancroft's idea. #SandpaperGate.

— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) March 24, 2018

England wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior believes that there is no way that the coach and the rest of the team were not aware of what Bancroft was doing.

"There is no way on earth the coach, captain (and most probably the rest of the team) weren't aware of what Bancroft would be doing! #SandpaperGate," Prior wrote.

There is no way on earth the coach, captain (and most probably the rest of the team) weren't aware of what Bancroft would be doing! #SandpaperGate

— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) March 24, 2018

Both Smith and Bancroft admitted the charges after the end of the day's play.

According to the footage, a small, yellow object was seen in Bancroft's hands after he had worked on the ball, and he was also captured taking it from his pocket and seeming to place it down his trousers.

It showed Bancroft seeming to rub the rough side of the ball, the opposite side to which he would usually be trying to shine on his trousers, as is permitted under International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions, espncricinfo.com reported.

He appeared to put the object down his pants apparently after being spoken to by the substitute Peter Handscomb, who had come on to the field after speaking to coach Darren Lehmann over the walkie-talkie.

When Bancroft spoke to the umpires, he was shown holding a bigger, black cloth rather than the small yellow object he had earlier seemed to place down his trousers.

Both South African and Australian commentators on the host broadcaster, SuperSport, said Bancroft's actions looked extremely suspicious.

Andy Pycroft, the match referee, charged Bancroft with a Level 2 offence of attempting to alter the condition of the ball.

Meanwhile, Smith, who admitted the charges, expressed regret and said, "The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch. I am not proud of what's happened. It's not within the spirit of the game. My integrity, the team's integrity and the leadership group's integrity have come into question. It won't happen again".


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