The Australian PR team ratcheted up the pressure on Cricket Australia to remove the bans on the Newlands Three, with Aussie coach Justin Langer claiming that ball-tampering is an ‘international’ issue.
Langer took over as coach following the Sandpapergate scandal at Newlands which saw Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft all booted into the cricketing wilderness by Cricket Australia, while incumbent coach Darren Lehmann fell on his sword and resigned his position.
‘My honest view is, it’s an international problem. I can’t for a single second understand how we took sandpaper out on to the field – that doesn’t make any sense to me,’ said Langer in an interview with former Test teammate Adam Gilchrist on Fox Cricket.
‘What I do know is that the issue with people ball-tampering is something that’s going on internationally. It’s a real worry. The way I think about this is, remember when you’re a little kid and you played backyard cricket with your brother and you put the tape on one side of the ball because it had to swing, because if you don’t get ball to swing you can’t get your brother out and it’s a pretty boring game. We’ve got to get the pitches right around the world.’
‘The most interesting thing in my last six months I’ve heard is that, almost globally, “The Australian cricket team’s culture is terrible. Their behaviours are disgraceful”,’ added Langer. ‘What I do know is that the players in there are the best young blokes you’ll ever see. They work hard, they’re really professional and they’re really nice young blokes. I think you’ll see that shine over the next little bit.’
Ironically, a lack of shine on the ball is what caused the whole furore in the first place, as well as the Australian team’s attempts at a cover-up.
Sunday’s ODI against the Proteas in Perth will be Australia’s first appearance on home turf since Sandpapergate, and it will be interesting to see the reaction from the public. David Warner has already been taken to task by fellow Australian club players, one of whom labelled him a ‘disgrace’, and while the Australian public is fiercely patriotic, they do hold a high regard for fair play.
While most – if not all – cricketing nations have been embroiled in controversy, the continued pressure on Australian cricketers to win every match has certainly given them their fair share of time in the spotlight. The authorities sent a clear message to the cricketing community about what’s right and wrong in banning the Newlands trio.
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