‘I’m not proud of it’: Ball-tampering plot exposed among senior Australian cricketers

Umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth confront Australia’s Cameron Bancroft over suspected ball-tampering during the Third Test in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Peter Heeger / Gallo Images / Getty Images

  • Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera holding a small yellow object which he later said was tape being used to try and tamper with the ball during the third Test against South Africa.
  • Captain Steve Smith later said the idea of adjusting the ball had been discussed by the “leadership group” as a “possible way to get an advantage”.
  • Bancroft is likely to face a one-Test suspension, but the Cricket Australia board will hold an emergency meeting to decide on any further action.

Australia’s Test cricket team has been caught attempting to gain an unfair advantage in the Third Test against South Africa, with Cameron Bancroft admitting to trying to tamper with the ball after it was discussed as “a way to get an advantage” among the team’s leadership group.

Bancroft was caught by cameras holding a small yellow object which he would later explain was tape he was carrying with the intention of trying to rough up the ball.

After the yellow object was initially spotted on camera, Bancroft was soon after seen putting the object down the front of his pants, as captured in this damning footage.

Bancroft, who will likely face a one-Test suspension, explained at a media conference afterwards: “I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from rough patches on the wicket to change the ball condition. It didn’t work. The umpires didn’t change the ball.

“Once being sighted on the screen I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers.”

Cricket Australia’s board will hold an emergency meeting today to discuss any further action required.

Smith said he would not be resigning from the captaincy but admitted the leadership group “knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch”.

Cameron Bancroft (L) and Australian captain Steve Smith speaking to the media after the event. Photo by Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images / Getty Images

“I’m not proud of what’s happened,” Smith said. “It’s not within the spirit of the game. My integrity, the team’s integrity, the leadership group’s integrity has come into question and rightfully so.

“I’m not naming names but the leadership group talked about it and ‘Bangers’ was around at the time. We spoke about it and thought it was a possible way to get an advantage. Obviously it didn’t work. The umpires didn’t see it change how the ball was behaving, or how it looked or anything like that. (It was) a poor choice and we’re deeply regretful for our actions.”

Cricket Australia’s official Twitter account posted a video of Smith apologising for the incident.

South Africa ended the third day in Cape Town on 5-238 in their second innings. They lead by 294 runs.

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