Australia’s new coach Justin Langer cannot believe how the team culture had got to a stage where its youngest and most inexperienced member – Cameron Bancroft – was put in a position to tamper with the ball during the Cape Town Test in South Africa.
“When I first became an Australian cricketer, if Allan Border had asked me to tamper with the ball I would have, because I would be too scared not too,” Langer told Channel Nine. “The difference is that Allan Border would never have asked me, and Bobby Simpson (coach) would have killed me. He would have killed anyone who brought the game into disrepute.
“What I can’t believe is that Cameron Bancroft walked into the Australian cricket team and he was in a position where he made that decision. In terms of the culture and how it got to that point I don’t know, I am not close enough to say. But I will certainly find out. I will be walking into the cauldron soon and I’ll find out.”
Langer succeeded Darren Lehmann, who resigned as Australia’s coach at the end of the tour of South Africa in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal. Lehmann had been cleared by a Cricket Australia inquiry of prior knowledge to tamper with the ball, a plot that was found to involve the captain Steven Smith, vice captain David Warner and Bancroft.
CA banned Smith and Warner for 12 months, and Bancroft for nine, and there were additional sanctions on holding leadership positions in Australian cricket as well. All three players accepted their punishments.
“They are really tough sanctions, but that said, they should be and the reason they should be is because we have said forever that we don’t bend the rules, we don’t cheat,” Langer said. “[But] there’s not one person who has not made a mistake.”
Langer’s first assignment as full-time Australia coach will be the ODI series in England in July.