Ball-tampering an “international problem” – Justin Langer

The umpires have a chat with Cameron Bancroft about working on the ball (AFP/Getty Images)

ESPNcricinfo– Australia coach Justin Langer believes ball-tampering is an “international” issue the game needs to confront and has urged a better balance of conditions to ward off the temptation to alter the condition of the ball.

Langer took charge of the Australia team in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal at Newlands which led to Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft being banned and soon saw Darren Lehmann resign as coach.

While stressing that what took place was a “huge mistake” Langer said that ball-tampering remained a widespread issue.

“My honest view is, it’s an international problem,” he said in an interview with Adam Gilchrist on Fox Cricket. “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.

“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 so that the ball does it move, whether it spins or swings.”

Langer’s comments follow on from the views of Steve Waugh who argued that it was the ICC’s lenient approach to ball-tampering within the code of conduct that created an environment where things went as far as they did in South Africa.

“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,” Waugh told ESPNcricinfo.

The events at Newlands led to the reviews of Australian cricket which were revealed earlier this week and made for tough reading for those involved in running and playing the game. The board was termed “arrogant” and “controlling” while it was said the players lived in a “bubble” and had become obsessed with a win-at-all-costs approach instilled by CA.

“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,'” Langer said. “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.”

Meanwhile Langer’s predecessor, Lehmann, has opened up on his continued struggles to come to terms with what happened in Cape Town and revealed he continues to receive counselling.

“I saw people, and am still seeing people about it. That’s a work in progress,” Lehmann told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. “I don’t think people know how much it affects people behind the scenes, but that’s one of those things that you go through. The help of family and close friends got me through.”

Australia will play their first match on home soil since the tampering scandal when they face South Africa in the first ODI in Perth on Sunday.


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