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Nonsense only three in Australia cricket team knew about ball tampering: Andrew Flintoff

Australia cricket team’s Cameron Bancroft admitted to using sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test against South Africa and was banned for nine months, while Steve Smith and David Warner were given one-year suspensions.

cricket Updated: Apr 10, 2018 15:00 IST
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Steve Smith,Cameron Bancroft,Andrew Flintoff
An emotional Steve Smith, the former Australian cricket team captain, fronts the media at Sydney International Airport on March 29, 2018. Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were flown back to Australia following investigations into alleged ball tampering in South Africa.(Getty Images)

Andrew Flintoff thinks it is “absolute nonsense” that only three players were aware of Australia’s ball-tampering antics at Newlands last month.

Cameron Bancroft admitted to using sandpaper in an attempt to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test against South Africa.

Bancroft was banned for nine months by Cricket Australia, while Steve Smith and David Warner were given one-year suspensions for their part in the scandal.

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Former England all-rounder Flintoff finds it hard to believe that the trio’s team-mates did not know what was occurring in the field.

“I am struggling to think that not everyone [in the team] knew,” Flintoff told BBC Radio 5 live.

“I might be completely wrong but you talk about it. You talk about how you are going to treat the ball. The ball in cricket is so important.

“To say that a bowler has got a ball in his hands, or anybody else in the field does not know that this ball has been tampered with is absolute nonsense,

“You talk and talk and talk about how you’re going to look after this ball. To then say that other people didn’t know - if that’s the case I feel sorry for Mitchell Starc.

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“He’s got the ball in his hands. He’s running in thinking he’s Wasim Akram - this ball is moving everywhere. He is thinking: ‘I’m cracking it here, I’m doing something which is unbelievable.’”

Flintoff also feels the sanctions handed out by Cricket Australia were over the top.

He added: “The crime doesn’t warrant that. One of the things which has really annoyed me is I’ve seen people raising their profile on the back of other people’s misery.

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“Some of them are in glass houses - don’t be chucking your stones, lads. We’ve done a few things which aren’t particularly in the rules - not as bad as that - and it changes.

“Then I saw Steve Smith on TV crying his eyes out, so upset, and I put a tweet out saying: ‘Are you happy now? Is that what you wanted?’”

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 15:00 IST