England coach Trevor Bayliss believes the strength of feeling in response to Australia’s ball-tampering crisis is a symptom of how the team has played their cricket in recent times.
Bayliss, a former New South Wales coach who knows Steven Smith well from his days as a young allrounder at the state, said he was “embarrassed” by what his fellow countrymen had done in South Africa.
In his time as England coach Bayliss has faced Australia in two Ashes series, the most recent ending in a 4-0 defeat that involved a number of fractious moments, including the Cameron Bancroft-Jonny Bairstow headbutt incident in Perth which came to light during the Brisbane Test.
“I think a lot of what they’re copping at the moment comes from the way they have played their game,” Bayliss said. “It’s almost like teams and people around the world have been waiting for them to stuff up so they can lay the boot in. I don’t think you can say when any culture has changed. It’s one of those things that continually, over a period of time, builds and builds and unfortunately on this occasion it’s gone too far.
“As an Australian, I’m embarrassed. Steve is a lovely young bloke who has made a terrible mistake and I’m sure Cricket Australia will work out the course of action required. It’s nothing to do with us but it will be interesting to see what they come up with.”
However, Bayliss insisted he didn’t have any issues with how Australia had managed to obtain their reverse-swing during the Ashes. Since the drama unfolded in Cape Town, footage has emerged of Bancroft allegedly putting sugar in his pocket during the Sydney Test while reports have said that David Warner told England players of his tactics after the series. “I thought we were outplayed by a much better team. I’ve got no complaints,” Bayliss said.
Away from the controversies engulfing Australia, Bayliss agreed with the view of ICC chief executive David Richardson that the game as a whole has to look at its image.
“It’s not just Australian cricket that’s being thought of in a negative way, it’s going to be the game as a whole. Players and teams around the world have got to take a step back and have a bit of a think about the way they go about things and make sure the game continues on into the future and held in the best possible light by everyone.”