Michael Clarke Tees Off On Australian Cricket Team Over Ball Tampering

'It's blatant cheating...disgraceful.'

Michael Clarke Tees Off On Australian Cricket Team Over Ball Tampering Image: Channel 9

Steve Smith's predecessor Michael Clarke has teed off on the Australian cricket team for ball tampering, labelling it "premeditated cheating" and "disgraceful".

The Australian cricket team - and particularly the leadership in Steve Smith and Darren Lehmann - have come under fire after Cameron Bancroft was filmed applying a foreign object to the ball while fielding on Saturday night.

Bancroft told media he "saw an opportunity to potentially use some tape" to apply dirt to the ball, with Smith admitting he was complicit.

"It’s premeditated cheating. It's blatant cheating. It’s disgraceful. It’s not accepted by anyone, and particularly an Australian," Clarke said on Channel 9's Sports Sunday.

"We’ve got the best bowling attack in the world. We don’t need to cheat to beat anybody."

Clarke saved most of his disappointment for the leaders of Australian cricket.

 

"Cameron Bancroft, this is his eighth Test match. I can’t believe the leadership group has made the decision to do this. They've gone and got the young kid playing his eighth Test match to do that," he said.

"As a leader, you can’t ask somebody to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.

"Steve Smith is such a lovely, lovely guy. You can see there he's just shattered. I really feel sorry for him."

Clarke stopped short of calling for Smith's head.

"I don’t think it’d be fair for me to (ask him to resign)," he said.

"I would need to do a lot more groundwork before I could make that decision, but I can guarantee you this is not a good look for the leadership group."

He said the change in leadership structure has been a "gripe" for him.

"This has probably been my gripe with Australian cricket over the last four or five years," he said.

"I think our structure has changed. When I grew up the captain was in charge of the Australian cricket team, always. My father's team, Mark Taylor's team, Allan Border's team, Steve Waugh's team. Halfway through my captaincy that changed.

"They brought in a head coach, they brought in a high performance manager, so then you've got board, CEO, high performance manager, head coach, chairman of selectors and then the captain. So that blurs accountability."

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