David Warner of Australia bats on the fourth day of the third cricket test between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Stadium, in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, March 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)
David Warner of Australia bats on the fourth day of the third cricket test between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Stadium, in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, March 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)

Warner comments coming back to bite

THE egg splattered on Australia's face grows thicker by the hour.

The knives are out for the Aussie Test team after Steve Smith admitted he and the side's "leadership group" instructed young opener Cameron Bancroft to use a piece of tape to tamper with the ball during the third Test.

The fallout from the extraordinary mess has tossed Australian cricket's reputation to grimy depths not seen since the infamous underarm incident in 1981, all within 48 hours of cameras busting Bancroft fiddling with the ball.

And as Smith and deputy David Warner have painfully experienced, is that such a blatant display of spitting on the rules of the gentleman's game will not see you let off the hook easily.

Veteran cricket writer Robert Craddock revealed Warner is set to join Smith on the sidelines for the fourth Test after Cricket Australia spent Monday deliberating on the former vice-skipper's future.

If you listened to what Warner said two summers ago when South Africa toured Down Under, you'd be led to believe the Australian cricket team held ball tampering in the same regard as match fixing.

South African skipper Faf du Plessis sent his side's series into turmoil in late 2016 after being caught using a mint to shine the ball. Warner, speaking at a press conference after the scandal broke, didn't spare any time in lambasting the touring captain over his apparent attempt at ball tampering.

The 31-year-old matter-of-factly dismissed South Africa's tactics in the second Test as shameful as Australia slumped to a 2-1 series loss to the Proteas.

"I won't comment on the way (South Africa) have been behaving but I just know from an Australian cricket perspective: we hold our heads high and I'll be very disappointed if one of our teammates (did that)," he said.

"The rules are in place for a reason, if you're not gonna use them, then why bother having them?"

Warner said offending players would have to pay a hefty price for their on-field sins.

"That's the fortunate thing these days," Warner said in 2016. "(Officials have) got the rules and they're going to stand by their decision, and I think that's going to be a good thing.

"We've all been on the back end of them from time to time. Now that they're cracking down on it, especially with the points system, we as players know the guidelines now, so if you're going to overstep that mark and you get fined, be prepared to miss Test matches as well."

The 72-Test star couldn't have embarrassed himself further after stepping away from his vice-captaincy role for the remainder of the Test.



English publication The Sun has reported David Warner told a group of English players about his technique to scuff the ball up while in the field.

The 31-year-old allegedly told the touring England side he used substances attached to the strapping on his hands to deteriorate the ball's surface while sharing a drink with the side. The comments were supposedly made while in the dressing rooms following Australia's 4-0 Ashes win.

Warner, who suffered a fractured left thumb in 2015, had strapping over his left hand on day two of the second Test at Port Elizabeth, leading the South Africans to allege he was tampering with the ball almost a fortnight before the Cameron Bancroft saga exploded.



Former Aussie vice-captain Adam Gilchrist has been extremely vocal about the ball-tampering controversy, calling for serious action against Australia's leadership group as the reputation of the baggy green is dragged through the mud.

The 96-Test veteran glumly lashed his former side on Carrie & Tommy on The Hit Network on Monday afternoon, taking a swipe at Cameron Bancroft for not refusing an implied order from the captain.

"I find it so disappointing they actually sat down and planned it. Cameron Bancfroft would do anything for his teammates and for his captain, so that's very sad," Gilchrist said. "But he's big enough to know what's right and wrong, so he had an opportunity to make a better decision than what he did."

Gilchrist said Aussie cricketers around the country were "without doubt" tampering with the ball across multiple levels of the game.

"Absolutely, this sort of stuff has being going on for years," he said. "Every single team in the cricketing world has probably had a crack at something ... finding somehow to work out how to get ball to swing. I suspect everyone's dabbled in it."

Gilchrist's comments came as Big Bash star Chris Lynn shed light onto cricket's open secret.

"I reckon every cricketer's probably done it throughout their career in grade cricket or whatever level," Lynn told reporters on Monday.

"But obviously not to that extent. I think Faf du Plessis said when he got done he was more ball-shining than tampering. There's a fine line between all that stuff."