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Grant Elliot hints at ball-tampering by Australia in 2015 ICC World Cup final

Grant Elliot said that there is a chance that Australia used ball-tampering in the 2015 ICC World Cup final against New Zealand which they won to claim their fifth world title.

cricket Updated: Mar 30, 2018 16:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Grant Elliot,Ball Tampering,Australia national cricket team
Grant Elliot said that it is hard to say that Australia did not tamper with the ball against New Zealand in the 2015 ICC World Cup final.(Getty Images)

Over the past week, cricket has been rocked by arguably the biggest scandal of this decade after Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft admitted to having tampered with the ball during the third Test against South Africa.

While punishments have been meted out, the question that has stayed on in everyone’s mind is, Have Australia done it before? In fact, the question was posed to Smith during his press conference at the Sydney airport on Thursday, and the former Aussie skipper denied the possibility.

On Friday, former New Zealand player Grant Elliott too questioned the Aussie methods in the past in an interview on Kiwi radio show Hauraki Breakfast. “The first question I asked was, ‘well what happened in the World Cup final, were they doing it there?’” Elliott said during the show. “We were in a good position at 150 for three and at that stage you don’t know. You ask these questions.”

READ | David Warner to address media in Sydney on Saturday over ball-tampering scandal

Talking about the after-effects of the scandal, especially on a bowler’s psyche, Elliott said, “I’ve played games where the ball has reversed. The thing is, you look at someone like Mitchell Starc who hasn’t really bowled well lately. Now, he might be looking at himself and going — ‘you were doctoring the ball and I was struggling a bit.’”

Elliott, the 39-year-old Kiwi batsman of South African origin, added: “Now the stats will go okay… this is someone’s average before sandpaper gate and this is their average after sandpaper gate. There will be some bowlers that will actually come under the knife a little bit in terms of how good they were and how long they’ve been doctoring the ball for.”

Elliott stressed on the importance of tradition in keeping players on the right track. “Under Steve Waugh and (Ricky) Ponting, there was a lot of talk of the Baggy Green. They had brought that legacy back and guys were always talking about it. Once Ponting finished, you didn’t really hear about the Baggy Green anymore,” Elliott said.

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“And just like the All Blacks jersey, I think that it (Baggy Green) gels them together as a team. And it makes you think about what you are playing for. It’s not about playing for me but for the country, and that’s what you want from your players on the field.

On the public reaction to the episode, Elliott said, “I don’t know how forgiving the Australian public will be. They are pretty angry at the moment. I met a few of them yesterday and they were really disappointed.”

READ | Steve Smith, David Warner tried ball-tampering in Sheffield Shield 2016 game: Report

Elliott, though, offered his sympathies to the suspended players and condemned the manner in which Smith was treated at Johannesburg airport. “These guys are being treated like criminals which is not great. I saw a video of Steve Smith being hauled through the airport by four or five policeman in South Africa. He’s not a criminal. They made a mistake and they’re gonna do their time which is tough to hear. They’re going to get a year off cricket now!”

On the new skipper Tim Paine, Elliott said, “He’s a good man. I met him recently when we travelled to Pakistan. So, it is really good to see him take the reins and maybe start a new legacy here.”

First Published: Mar 30, 2018 16:44 IST