Steve Waugh believes that a lenient approach by the authorities played a big role in the ball-tampering scandal at Newlands, along with the players ‘living in a bubble’.
‘[The players] are in a bit of a bubble and they are protected, you know they are insulated from a lot of things,’ former Aussie Test captain Waugh revealed to ESPNCricinfo at a Laureus event in Paris.
‘They’ve got a lot of people around the side that protect them and tell them how good they are and how everything’s fantastic and sometimes you can lose touch with reality and I think that was best summed up when Steve Smith said that “we won’t make that same mistake again and we’ll just get on with it”.
‘They just didn’t realise how big a mistake it was and what they’d actually done. So that, to me, just summed up that maybe they were out of touch with what the average person thinks,’ said Waugh.
‘[The players] push the boundaries a bit by throwing the ball into the rough on the ground, which they shouldn’t do and then it’s escalated from there. It’s a shame how it got to the point that it did but I guess the authorities let that happen,’ added Waugh.
‘There have been captains in the past who have been done for tampering with the ball and the penalties have been very lenient so there was no penalty for doing something wrong and it was always going to get to the case where it got out of control,’ said Waugh, who added that, in his opinion, ‘it was a ridiculous mistake but it was sort of blown out of all proportion as well, the way it got covered’.
Waugh added that he believes that David Warner and Smith both have a great future ahead of them as they are both still young.
‘It’s really up to those guys. They’ve got to have the passion, they’ve got to have the desire but I think it’s a great chance of redemption. The Australian public will forgive and move on and they have an opportunity to really be role models to kids going forward.’
Read the full interview here