Cameron Bancroft is at the centre of a ball tampering scandal.
Cameron Bancroft is at the centre of a ball tampering scandal.

‘Equal to the underarm ball’: Is this cricket’s darkest day?

CALLS for Steve Smith to be stripped of the captaincy and for Darren Lehmann's coaching to be put under the microscope tell you how serious this ball-tampering scandal is.

But a call from former Test spinner Gavin Robertson puts the whole sorry saga into historic perspective, with the former tweaker claiming that it was "the equal" of the Trevor Chappell underarm ball, which Australian cricket has never lived down.

"It would be the equal of the underarm ball, it's definitely up there," Robertson said.

"I watched it and I was just thinking 'no'. Can you remember when you were in school and you knew you were just about to get into trouble with the teacher and they start to walk over to you and you get that moment of regret, a feeling where your stomach feels like it's about to fall away?

The Trevor Chappell underarm ball has long been the scourge of Australian cricket.
The Trevor Chappell underarm ball has long been the scourge of Australian cricket.

"We see ourselves as very honourable and tough and hard and can take anything.

"Well, it doesn't seem like that now and I've had two text messages from past players this morning and they're absolutely gutted."

Robertson said it wasn't only former cricketers who felt embarrassed by the current national team's conduct, expressing fears that the public were becoming fed up with the way the side carried itself under Smith and Lehmann's leadership.

Australia has long had a reputation for playing its cricket in tough and uncompromising fashion but according to Robertson another important component of the team ethos had fallen away.

Steven Smith (right) with Cameron Bancroft.
Steven Smith (right) with Cameron Bancroft.

"I feel like the public is so annoyed with their team. I almost feel like I'm walking into confessional here because it really hurts," Robertson said.

"I find they are frustrated with them. They are annoyed, they feel that they whinge and whine about everything.

 

"They feel that if it doesn't go their way, look out. We want to see our Australian team play like they've always played, right through from the '70s until now.

"Play hard and fast but cop it on the chin ... Don't go whingeing to the school principal about it.

"That's how we played and we're losing who we are and it goes to today. We are desperate."

Robertson admitted that Australian cricket teams of the past had pushed the boundaries as far as they could when trying to get the ball to reverse swing.

However, he said it was now less acceptable to attempt to change the ball's condition in the pursuit of reverse swing, which is why he was completely taken aback when he saw Cameron Bancroft so flagrantly breaking the rules.

"You're talking about, the game is very conscious about how they want the ball to be for the game, so ball tampering, and the cameras are onto everything," Robertson said.

"All you're aloud to do now is just physically shine the cricket ball.

"You're talking about players that know exactly what's going on, they know exactly what was wrong, they spoke about it in the dressing room.

"But what I can't understand is a young player sitting by next to somebody says, 'oh, I know, I'm only 15 games into my Test career here, I'll take this on'.

"Let alone the fact we're talking about a yellow piece of material, whatever it was, and next minute we're seeing something else be pulled out.

"I just think we're running for cover on this one. This does not look good."



Sunday's knee jerk reaction: Coffs Coast weekend sport

Sunday's knee jerk reaction: Coffs Coast weekend sport

Get the weekend scores and find what was good, bad and ugly in sport

Ky on a winning high at Aussies

Ky on a winning high at Aussies

Kinsela part of big victory at Australian Surf Life Saving Champs.

Tourism awards back on Coffs Coast

Tourism awards back on Coffs Coast

Opal Cove will host the North Coast Tourism Awards on July 25

Local Partners