Australia’s Cameron Bancroft has admitted he tampered with the ball during the third Test against South Africa – and captain Steve Smith says he knew of the plan in advance.
Television footage showed Bancroft take what he said was yellow tape out of his trouser pocket before rubbing the ball.
The 25-year-old said after play he had been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball.
Smith said it was a “big mistake” but added he would not stand down.
He said the team’s “leadership group” had spoken about it and “thought it was a way to get an advantage”.
Meanwhile, Dale Steyn, who is present at the venue, also shared his views on the social media platform. In his tweet, he brought forth the role Darren Lehmann and Steve Smith might have played in Bancroft’s shameful act on the field.
Replying to Kevin Pietersen’s tweet, here is what he wrote, “Bud you know nothing in professional sport is done without the consent of your captain and coach… Tough times ahead.”
Bud you know nothing in professional sport is done without the consent of your captain and coach… Tough times ahead.
— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) March 24, 2018
How the incident unfolded;
When the ball was thrown to him, television footage showed Bancroft take an object out of his pocket before rubbing the ball, then putting something back in his pocket.
After footage of the incident was broadcast, a message appeared to be sent out to him on the field. He put the tape down the front of his trousers before being spoken to by on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth.
At that point he turned out his pockets, revealing only a black cloth.
The umpires did not change the ball, and images of the incident on the big screen resulted in some booing from spectators.
Speaking at a news conference after the day’s play, both Bancroft and Smith apologised.
“I will deal with the damage that comes to my reputation as a consequence,” Bancroft said. “I don’t think I was coerced. I was nervous about it because there are hundreds of cameras around.
“Unfortunately I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I am accountable for my actions as well. I’m not proud of what has happened.
“I can promise you it won’t happen again. It’s the first time this has happened.
“I saw an opportunity to potentially use some tape and get some granules from the rough patches on the wicket and I guess try to change the ball condition.
“It didn’t work. The umpires didn’t change the ball. Once I was sighted on the screen having done that I panicked quite a lot and that obviously resulted in me shoving [the tape] down my trousers.”
Smith added: “We made a poor choice. We deeply regret our actions. Coaches weren’t involved. It was purely the players in the leadership group. We will move on from this and hopefully learn something from it. I’m embarrassed. I feel for Cam. It’s not what the Australian cricket team is about. I am incredibly sorry.