Ashes: England legend Ian Bell mocks Tim Paine following hostile Edgbaston reception for Australia players Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft

1 Aug

If Australia captain Tim Paine didn’t know Edgbaston was an intimidating place to play, he certainly does now.

The venue lived up to its reputation on the first morning of The Ashes on Thursday, with ‘Sandgate’ trio Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Steve Smith walking into a fire pit on their return to Test cricket.

David Warner was dismissed by Stuart Broad for 2
Getty Images - Getty
Bancroft, Warner and Smith were returning from ball tampering bans
Getty Images - Getty

England fans welcomed the two openers, Bancroft and Warner, to the crease with chants of ‘cheat, cheat, cheat’ before waving sandpaper and singing ‘Cheerio’ after both men were dismissed early on.

The tourists appeared well and truly rattled by the Birmingham crowd and England hero Ian Bell was quick to mock Aussie captain Paine for his comments about Edgbaston before the series.

Asked if there was a more intimidating ground in world cricket right now, Paine replied: “Than this? I could name you 15.”

And Bell, who has played his county cricket at Edgbaston for Warwickshire since 1999, hit back at Paine after the Aussies crumbled to 154-8 at Tea.

Only Smith, returning from a 12-month ban alongside Warner and Bancroft, provided any tangible resistance as Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes tore through the Aussies’ top order.

Fresh off the back of their thrilling World Cup triumph, England made an excellent start in their bid to regain the Ashes following their embarrassing 4-0 defeat in January 2018.

The hosts have not lost a home series against Australia for 18 years.

England vs Australia 2019 Ashes series: Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft selected in 17-man squad

26 Jul

The three-men involved in the sandpaper ball-tampering scandal have all been selected in the Australia squad for the Ashes series this summer.

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft all served suspensions for the plot in a Test match against South Africa in March 2018.

It is the first time the trio have been selected for the Australia Test squad since their bans.

Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith address the media after admitting to ball-tampering

Bancroft is returning to international cricket for the first time since TV cameras picked up him roughing up the ball in the match in Cape Town and he was suspended for nine months.

Smith and Warner were given year-long bans but featured in the World Cup squad as they were knocked out by England in the semi-final.

National selector Trevor Hohns said: “David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft have forced their way back into the Test squad through the excellence of their recent performances.

Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner step down for rest of South Africa Test
David Warner, left, and Steve Smith stood down from their roles in the Australia cricket team

“David and Steve also have the advantage of being proven players at Test level while Cameron has produced impressive numbers for county side Durham this season.

“His innings in the intra-squad match in Southampton on a tough pitch was outstanding and showed his quality.”

There are recalls for fast bowlers James Pattinson and Peter Siddle while Josh Hazlewood is back in the squad following his recent back injury.

Batsman-wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is also named in the 17-man squad after two years away from the Test arena, having scored a stack of recent runs, including a century against England Lions last week.

The first match of the five Test Ashes series starts next Thursday at Edgbaston.

Durham director of cricket Marcus North defends decision to make ‘ultimate professional’ Cameron Bancroft captain

27 Mar

Durham’s director of cricket Marcus North has defended the decision to appoint Cameron Bancroft captain of their County Championship and One-Day Cup sides.

Bancroft will join Durham in the summer and has been given the role following Paul Collingwood’s retirement.

Bancroft and Steve Smith address the media after admitting to ball-tampering

However, the decision to make the Australian batsman Durham captain has divided opinion due to Bancroft’s involvement in the ball-tampering scandal alongside international team-mates Steve Smith and David Warner in March 2018.

Bancroft served a nine-month ban but has been given the role which talkSPORT’s Darren Gough labelled ‘disgraceful’. Below you can see the Gough’s huge rant on the saga.

However, North went on Wednesday’s edition of Drivetime to defend Bancroft, claiming that the new captain is the ‘ultimate professional’ and suggested the batsman’s behaviour in South African was due to the environment he was in.

North said: “I understand that this decision will be splitting opinions.

“Cameron is the best available option for us as captain moving into this season.

“This decision hasn’t been taken lightly. In an ideal world we’d have a home-grown Durham player captaining the county for 2019 but as a club we’re not in that position.”

“He is the ultimate professional – his work-ethic, the way he dedicates himself to the game.

“My guy’s contradicting his behaviour in South Africa of course. That was probably a product of that environment and where he is.

“But he’s grown so much from that experience. There’s not going to be anyone better to relate to for young players of the effects of making poor decisions.

“He’s lived it and will have to live with it for the rest of his career and life but there are a lot of good things about Cameron Bancroft.

“His actions moving forward and the way he’ll conduct himself for Durham and hopefully with some really good performances, it will show people that he’s the right person for us at the moment.”

Australia ball-tampering scandal: Steve Smith and David Warner handed 12-month bans from international cricket

28 Mar
Australia ball-tampering scandal: Steve Smith and David Warner handed 12-month bans from international cricket
Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Steve Smith

Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned for 12 months over the Australia ball-tampering scandal.

Cameron Bancroft, the batsman who was caught on camera attempting to use tape and dirt to change the condition of the ball during the third Test against South Africa, has been banned for nine months.

The severe punishments were confirmed by Cricket Australia on Wednesday.

CA chairman, David Peever said: “The CA board understands and shares the anger of fans and the broader Australian community about these events.

“They go to the integrity and reputation of Australian Cricket and Australian sport and the penalties must reflect that.

“These are significant penalties for professional players and the board does not impose them lightly. It is hoped that following a period of suspension, the players will be able to return to playing the game they love and eventually rebuild their careers.”

Smith and Bancroft gave a press conference after the third day’s play, on Saturday, where they admitted a premeditated attempt to tamper with the ball.

CA chief executive James Sutherland announced on Tuesday that the pair, and vice-captain Warner, would be sent home but the investigation concluded that no-one else, including coach Darren Lehmann, was involved.

Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns have been called up as replacements ahead of the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg.

Tim Paine, who took over from Smith as captain mid-match in Cape Town as the furore began to unfold, was officially appointed as captain of the Test team on Tuesday.

Smith and Warner have also been banned from taking part in this year’s Indian Premier League.

The duo had already stepped down from their roles as captain of their franchises, Smith at Rajasthan Royals and Warner at Sunrisers Hyderabad.

A statement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India read: “The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) on Wednesday took cognizance of the developments in the ball tampering incident involving Cricket Australia contracted cricketers – Mr Steve Smith, Mr David Warner and Mr Cameron Bancroft.

“The CoA, in consultation with BCCI acting president Mr CK Khanna, IPL chairman Mr Rajeev Shukla and BCCI acting hon. secretary Mr Amitabh Choudhary, has decided to ban Mr Smith and Mr Warner with immediate effect from participation in IPL 2018.”

It is a heavy price to pay for the players, especially Smith, the world’s number one ranked Test batsman who will now lose a year of his career.

Warner has emerged as the apparent ringleader, with CA charging him with “development of a plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball”.

The 31-year-old will not be considered for a team leadership position in the future, CA added, while Smith and Bancroft will not be considered for such roles until 12 months after their bans end.

Smith, 28, was charged with “knowledge of a potential plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball”.

Bancroft, 25, playing in only his eighth Test, was charged with “knowledge of the existence of, and being party to, the plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper”, and “carrying out instructions to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball”.

All three players will be permitted to play club cricket, and will be encouraged to do so, to maintain links with the cricket community.

In addition, all three players will be required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket.

Meanwhile, a review into the culture of the Australian cricket team, brought into sharp focus in the wake of the scandal, will be published in due course.

Sutherland said: “The sanctions we have announced are significant for the individuals involved. That is why the process has had to be thorough to ensure that all relevant issues have been examined.

“I am satisfied that the sanctions in this case properly reflect a balance between the need to protect the integrity and reputation of the game and the need to maintain the possibility of redemption for the individuals involved, all of whom have learned difficult lessons through these events.

“As indicated, Cricket Australia will provide more details of an independent review into the conduct and culture of our Australian men’s team in due course.”

‘I’ve got no complaints’ – Trevor Bayliss insists Australia out-classed England during the Ashes despite recent ball-tampering scandal

27 Mar
'I've got no complaints' - Trevor Bayliss insists Australia out-classed England during the Ashes despite recent ball-tampering scandal
Bayliss is embarrassed by hi country's recent scandal

England’s Australian coach Trevor Bayliss admits he is embarrassed by the ball-tampering shame which has engulfed his compatriots on their Test tour of South Africa.

Bayliss, who oversaw England’s 4-0 defeat in his native country this winter, has echoed the insistence of captain Joe Root and senior seamer Stuart Broad that the Ashes tourists had no reason to suspect any sharp practice from their hosts.

But as a former mentor of Steve Smith’s when Australia’s newly-deposed captain was a young New South Wales all-rounder, he has been shocked by events in Cape Town this week.

Smith was banned by the International Cricket Council for the final Test in Johannesburg and fined his match fee for the third match of four at Newlands after he and batsman Cameron Bancroft confessed to a plot to alter the condition of the ball by using tape concealed in the latter’s pocket during South Africa’s second innings.

Smith will be sent home along with vice-captain David Warner and Bancroft on Wednesday, Cricket Australia has announced. Tim Paine has been named as the new skipper of the side.

“I’m obviously disappointed – and as an Australian I’m embarrassed,” said Bayliss. “Steve is a lovely young bloke who has made a terrible mistake, and I’m sure Cricket Australia (CA) will work out the course of action required.”

CA is expected to announce on Wednesday what punishment the players will face. Australia coach Darren Lehmann is staying in his role, after an investigation found he had no prior knowledge of the plan to tamper.

Bayliss, speaking after England’s innings defeat in their first Test against New Zealand in Auckland, said of the Australians: “They obviously will be punished, but I’ve no idea how severe … we’ll have to see what Cricket Australia come up with.”

Asked if England had any suspicions about Australian ball-tampering during the Ashes, however, he said: “No. I thought we were outplayed by a much better team.

“I’ve got no complaints.”

‘It’s rocked Australian sport’ – Darren Gough believes the Australian players will face tough sanctions and is shocked Darren Lehmann kept his job

27 Mar

Former England star Darren Gough has exclusively told talkSPORT he believes the ball-tampering scandal has ‘rocked Australian sport’.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland announced Australian coach Darren Lehmann would remain in his job following the ball-tampering controversy.

Sutherland said captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were the only players aware of the ball-tampering plot and all had been reported for breaching Cricket Australia’s code of conduct, with decisions on sanctions for each player to be made in the next 24 hours.

Tim Paine has been appointed captain of Australia’s Test team, and said the three players involved in the ball-tampering case would leave South Africa on Wednesday.

And speaking on Drivetime immediately after the news, Gough believes the aftermath will shake Australian sport to the core.

He said: “I thought he [James Sutherland] was going to burst into tears when he started and this is what it’s done – it’s rocked Australian sport, it really has.

“As you just said, footballers and rugby players from Australian sport and ex-sportsmen are coming out and slaughtering them.

“Ex-cricketers as well, from Australian sport – legends.

“They are going to throw the book at them.”

While the Australian players have of course received much of the ire form the incident, many were surprised to see Lehmann keep his position.

Smith was stripped of the captaincy and instantly replaced by Tim Paine, but Lehmann will continue as coach, a decision which surprised fromer England strike bolwer Gough.

He said: “As coach, obviously his players, his part of his job is to make sure they abide by the rules and total discipline so I’m surprised he has.”

Australia suspend Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their involvement in ball-tampering incident in South Africa

27 Mar
Australia suspend Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their involvement in ball-tampering incident in South Africa
The trio have been suspended for their part in the scandal

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been suspended by Cricket Australia for the fourth Test in Johannesburg for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal.

After a thorough investigation, all three players were found guilty of breaching article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct and will fly home from South Africa on Thursday.  

Smith has also been stripped of the captaincy for at least the final Test in South Africa, with Tim Paine endorsed by the board as his successor and Australia’s 46th Test captain after he acted in the role on day four in Cape Town.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said: “No other players or support staff had prior knowledge and this includes Darren Lehmann, who despite inaccurate media reports has not resigned from his position.

“He will continue to coach the Australia men’s team under his current contract.

“Once the investigation has concluded in the next 24 hours sanctions will be announced. All three players who have been reported will leave South Africa tomorrow.

“Tim Paine has been officially appointed captain of the Australian men’s Test team.”

Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said in a statement: “We understand and share the anger of fans and the broader Australian community about the events that unfolded in Cape Town on Saturday.

“This issue goes beyond the technical nature of the offences and various codes of conduct. It is about the integrity and reputation of Australian Cricket and Australian sport.

“Ultimately, it is about whether Australians can feel proud of their national sporting teams.

“That depends as much on the way the players conduct themselves, as it does about winning or losing. It is about how we play the game.”

‘It is a dark day for Australia’ – Former Test captain Kim Hughes calls for Steve Smith to be sacked after ball-tampering scandal

26 Mar
'It is a dark day for Australia' - Former Test captain Kim Hughes calls for Steve Smith to be sacked after ball-tampering scandal
Listen back to Australian cricket legend Kim Hughes on talkSPORT below…

Kim Hughes has branded the ball-tampering scandal as a ‘dark day for Australia’ and says Steve Smith should never captain the nation’s cricket team again.

Smith’s admission that the “leadership group” intentionally planned to manipulate the ball during the third Test against South Africa has rocked Australian cricket.

Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on Monday, former Test skipper Hughes said: “Cricket is our national game, the Baggy Green is an icon and the spirit that Australians stand for, the last thing you woud want to be called is a cheat. That is what we were.

“It was absolutely disgraceful.”

Cricket Australia are currently carring out an investigation into the incident, which has seen Smith banned for one match and fined his entire match fee by cricket’s world governing body, the ICC.

Asked if Smith will captain the Test team again, an indignant Hughes replied: “No, not on your nelly. God, no.

“There have only been 43 or 44 men that have done it and you can’t accept someone with those standards.”

Hughes went on to blast the ICC’s punishment of Smith, adding: “It sums up the ICC. A one Test match ban and all of his salary? It’s useless fining men in professional sport that earn obscene amounts of money.

“What you need to do is ban them for six or 12 months, take away sponsors and that type of thing.

“We are pretty good at thumping our chest and saying there are cheats in running, cheats in cycling and that type of thing.

“Now when an Australian stands up and talks from the pulpit, people will say ‘hang on mate, you guys are cheats as well, you had your captain cheating’.”

“This was a pre-meditated tactic by the captain and whomever and it is a dark day for Australia.”


Australia news: Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft hit with fines after ball-tampering incident against South Africa

25 Mar
Australia news: Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft hit with fines after ball-tampering incident against South Africa
Smith and Bancroft address the media after the incident

Australia captain Steve Smith has been suspended for one Test for his role in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa, with guilty party Cameron Bancroft also sanctioned by the International Cricket Council.

The pair appeared before the media on Saturday to admit that they had conspired to illegally alter the condition of the match ball, with Bancroft using a piece of sticky tape containing grit from the pitch and Smith agreeing to the ploy after discussions with his “leadership group”.

Their actions, initially picked up by television cameras during the third Test in Cape Town, have shocked cricket fans all over the world – with a chorus of high-profile professionals deeming Smith’s position as skipper untenable and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull even taking the time to condemn the incident.

Smith originally vowed to continue as captain and learn from the furore but it was confirmed on Sunday morning that both he and vice-captain David Warner had agreed to stand down from their posts for the remainder of the match at Newlands, leaving Tim Paine in charge.

Several hours later the ICC upped the ante after its chief executive David Richardson personally intervened.

Smith accepted a charge which related to a serious breach of the spirit of the game, earning a one-match suspension, losing 100 per cent of his match fee and picking up four demerit points. Although Bancroft was the directly guilty party his penalty was less severe, a nod to his junior role within the side.

He was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and hit with three demerit points. Unlike Smith, he is theoretically available to play the fourth Test against the Proteas in Johannesburg, though it would hardly be a surprise if he was removed from action by Cricket Australia.

Richardson delivered a strident assessment of recent events alongside the punishments.

“The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore ‘serious’ in nature.

“As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended. The game needs to have a hard look at itself. In recent weeks we have seen incidents of ugly sledging, send-offs, dissent against umpires’ decisions, a walk-off, ball-tampering and some ordinary off-field behaviour.

“The ICC needs to do more to prevent poor behaviour and better police the spirit of the game, defining more clearly what is expected of players and enforcing the regulations in a consistent fashion. In addition and most importantly member countries need to show more accountability for their teams’ conduct.

“Winning is important but not at the expense of the spirit of the game which is intrinsic and precious to the sport of cricket. We have to raise the bar across all areas.”

Australia captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft apologise for ball-tampering incident during third Test against South Africa

24 Mar
Australia captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft apologise for ball-tampering incident during third Test against South Africa
Bancroft and Smith address the media after the third Test

Captain Steve Smith admitted Australia had deliberately tampered with the ball during the third Test against South Africa.

Smith said he was “incredibly sorry” for bringing the game “into disrepute” after team-mate Cameron Bancroft was caught rubbing a piece of tape, coated with dust from the pitch, on the ball while fielding.

Bancroft attempted, after speaking to 12th man Peter Handscomb, to hide the tape down his trousers but the video evidence was clear and he was charged by the match officials after play finished on day three in Cape Town.

He and Smith appeared afterwards at a press conference, broadcast live on Periscope by Cricket South Africa, at which Smith said: “The leadership group knew about it and spoke about it at lunch.

“I’m not proud of what’s happened, it’s not within the spirit of the game. My integrity and the integrity of the leadership group has come into question, and rightfully so.”

On-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth, both from England, took no action after speaking to Bancroft but he was charged after the day’s play.

Bancroft said: “We had a discussion with the match officials and I’ve been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball.

“I was in the vicinity when the leadership group were discussing it. I was obviously nervous and with hundreds of cameras it’s always a risk.

“We had a discussion during the break and on myself, I saw an opportunity to use some tape and granules from rough patches of the wicket to change the ball’s condition.

“Once I was sighted on the screen I panicked quite a lot, and that’s why I shoved it down my trousers.”

Smith declined to “name names” but insisted the decision was taken by players rather than the coaching staff.

“It’s not on, it’s certainly not and it won’t happen again under my leadership,” he said.

“We thought it was a possible way to get an advantage, obviously it didn’t work. It was a poor choice and I deeply regret our actions.

“I’m embarrassed and I feel for Cam as well. Being the leader of the team, I’m incredibly sorry for, I guess, trying to bring the game into disrepute.”

He insisted, though: “I won’t consider stepping down.

“I take responsibility as captain and I need to take control of the ship. It’s something I’m not proud of, I’m embarrassed. It’s a big error in judgement and we’ll learn from it.”

South Africa took a commanding 294-run lead in the match after reaching 238 for five in their second innings, Aiden Markram with 84 and AB de Villiers adding 51 not out.

That left them on course to take a 2-1 series lead into next week’s final Test in Johannesburg but the match was overshadowed by the Bancroft incident.