Broad ‘surprised’ by Australia’s adoption of ball-tampering tactics
‘They’ve reverse-swung the ball sometimes in conditions you wouldn’t expect it to’
Australia captain Steve Smith has been stood down for the rest of the third Test against South Africa. Photograph: AFP
Stuart Broad is at a loss to understand Australia’s sudden impulse to tamper with the ball when they already had the knack of reverse-swing off to a tee.
Australia captain Steve Smith and deputy David Warner have both been stood down from their duties for the remainder of the third Test against South Africa following the controversy which has engulfed their team.
Broad spent much of this winter watching his opposite numbers from Australia confound England’s batsmen on the way to a 4-0 Ashes success over Joe Root’s tourists.
He is therefore bemused to hear Smith and accomplice Cameron Bancroft admit to hatching a plan which involved the latter taking tape out of his pocket while handling the ball during the South Africa’s second innings in Cape Town.
A charge was laid by match referee Andy Pycroft, and both Bancroft and Smith confessed to pre-meditated ball-tampering.
Broad insists he has no reason to believe Australia were up to any of the same illegal tactics against England, but is struggling to work out why they have chosen to do so in South Africa.
“I saw Steve Smith in his press conference say it’s the first time they’ve tried it — which to me, it’s surprising why they’d change a method that’s been working,” he said.
“Look at the Ashes series we’ve just played, all those Test matches, and they’ve reverse-swung the ball sometimes in conditions you wouldn’t expect it to.
“There was no evidence that they were doing this in the Ashes series, from what I’ve seen.”
Footage did surface on social media on Sunday of Bancroft appearing to put sugar into his left hand and then into his pocket during a break in play on day two of the final Ashes Test in Sydney in January.
When asked for a comment on that footage a Cricket Australia spokesman said: “We won’t be commenting on details of our investigation at this stage.”
Broad also agreed there has been an element of hypocrisy from Australia of late.
He is mystified by Darren Lehmann’s complaints about “disgraceful” behaviour from South African supporters — compared with the Australia coach’s own remarks before the 2013-14 Ashes series.
Back then, in a radio interview, Lehmann urged supporters to make the tour so uncomfortable for Broad that he would return home crying.
At the suggestion of a hypocritical inconsistency, Broad said: “That (hypocritical) is your word, not mine, but I would agree with you. You look at the quotes from that 2013 interview — where he basically asked a country to send an opposition player home crying.
“I then can’t understand why you’d come out and moan about a different country and what they’re saying to their players.”
From his personal experience, Broad has no doubt which of the two countries has the most hostile supporters.
“This series, I don’t really understand Darren Lehmann saying the South African crowd have been out of order,” he added.
“Any England player that has toured Australia can laugh at those comments really, because some of the things we hear on the pitch from Australian supporters — known as ‘banter’ — I know is worse than South Africa.”
Broad has no issue with “banter” on or off the pitch, but expects those who provoke to be able to handle a measured response.
“I’ve always been a bit of a believer in sport ... if someone wants to take you on verbally, then they’ve started that fight (so) you’re allowed to say something back.
“Just from the outside, it looks like Australia have started a lot of fights and then (are) moaning when someone comes back.
“It looks like things might change for that team for a bit.”