Australian quick Pat Cummins says he ‘felt ill’ when he saw footage of the ball-tampering episode on the big screen at Newlands, but the team had no idea of what was to follow.
‘I remember seeing what happened up on the big screen and just getting a sick feeling in my stomach and just thought, ”Oh no, what’s going on here? What’s going to happen”?’ Cummins told Cricket.com.au.
But, he said, the team’s thoughts switched to ‘We’ll worry about it after the game, just get through today’ as they battled in a pivotal third Test with the series tied 1-1.
‘At the time, I thought this event that’s just happened, it does have precedent around the world, it has happened a few times before. Never in Australia, but you kind of know what happens – an ICC sanction gets handed down.
‘You know it’s big news but don’t really know the magnitude,’ Cummins said. ‘Then the next morning when I woke up and checked my phone, that’s when it hit me. That’s when the reaction was unprecedented. We’d never seen anything like it before. I mean, we had the Prime Minister on the news giving his opinion on the situation, and ex-players and politicians, movie stars, and everyone.
‘We just thought, ”Hang on, we’re just cricketers playing a little cricket game over here in Cape Town” and suddenly this has just blown up all around the world.
‘That’s when the magnitude hit me and from there I just remember a really awful week… just a really tough week, especially on the three guys that put their hand up.
‘I really felt for them and everyone trying to look after each other for that week, it was a pretty dark place.’
Cameron Bancroft and Australia captain Steve Smith admitted after play on day three to the pre-meditated plan to scuff the ball. David Warner was also implicated.
The next morning, Smith was replaced as team captain, with Tim Paine handed the captaincy for the remainder of the Test, and realisation of the severity of the incident started to sink in for the players.
Warner and Smith were banned from international and domestic cricket for 12 months, and Bancroft for nine months. All three were sent home. Australia coach Darren Lehmann resigned from his post in the wake of the scandal.
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