In a sensational reveal-all interview, Australia skipper Steve Smith has admitted that the Australian team was well aware of the ball tampering attempt of Cameron Bancroft. The opening batsman has been caught in the centre of storm after being caught-red handed, trying to change the condition of the ball during the ongoing third Test in Newlands, Cape Town.
Video footage showed Bancroft using an external object while trying to shine the ball. The youngster was captured putting a yellow object down the front of his pants moments before the umpires seemingly inquired about it. Footage later showed Bancroft rubbing the ball and then seemingly putting an object back in his pocket. Within moments, Bancroft’s conduct has courted widespread criticism. And it looks like he along with his teammates is going to face more heat after owning up to ball tampering.
Bancroft as well as Smith admitted that they deliberately attempted to change the condition of the ball. Speaking at the post-day presser, Smith sounded apologetic as he took responsibility for the shameful act. He went on to reveal that the plan was made by the ‘leadership group’ before insisting that the coaching staff did not know anything about it.
“The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch,” Smith said. “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 has come into question. It wont happen again.
“It was the leadership group’s idea. Poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren’t involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this. This is the first time it has happened under my leadership. We saw this game as such as an important game. We’ve seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn’t seem like it was going to go. It’s such poor actions. Deeply regrettable and wont happen again. I can promise you. I can promise you this is the first time it has happened,” he added.
“I am embarrassed. I know the boys in the shed are embarrassed as well. Being the leader I am incredibly sorry. If we weren’t caught, I would still regret it.
Smith also made it clear that he is no mood to give up on captaincy.
“I wont consider stepping down [from captaincy]. I still think I am the right person for the job. Today was a big mistake on my part and on the leadership group as well. I have to take control of the ship. This is something I am not proud of. It’s something I hope I can learn from and come back from. I am embarrassed. It is a big error in judgement.”