With Australian cricket’s reputation taking a beating in the aftermath of the ball tampering scandal, Australia Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has called for an end to sledging in the game.
Turnbull believes incidents like cheating and sledging had to get eradicated from the game to restore its tarnished image.
The ongoing Test series between Australia and South Africa is marred with personal sledges and hostilities.
The on-field fights then took an ugly turn when Cameron Bancroft was spotted tampering with the ball. The controversial incident took place on the third day of the game at Newlands. Bancroft was captured using yellow tape to scruff up the ball. Once the broadcasters repeatedly aired the footage and even displayed it on the giant screen, Bancroft was seen slipping the yellow tape inside his trousers.
Later, Steven Smith and Bancroft sensationally admitted they had pre-planned the whole thing. On the very following, Smith had stood down as Australia’s Test captain. He was also banned for one Test by the ICC.
“I think there has to be the strongest action taken against this practice of sledging,” Turnbull said. “It has gotten right out of control. It should have no place. The game of cricket … should be one that once again is held up as a role model.”
Cricket Australia (CA) has launched its investigation. CA chief executive James Sutherland has joined CA’s integrity chief Iain Roy and team performance manager Pat Howard in South Africa to investigate the incident.
“They now have to make sure that this great national game, this great international game that is synonymous with fair play, is once again a game that is played by champions that everybody can look up to,” Turnbull said. “I mean, this has been a shocking affront to Australia.
“Where do we want to get to? We want to get to the point where we can all say once again, not rhetorically but heartfelt and with sincerity, that cricket is a fair game, cricket is a game that is synonymous with a fair go and fair play,” he added.
Meanwhile, reports are suggesting that head coach Darren Lehmann has offered to step down from his post. Australia are currently trailing the four-match series 2-1.