Cricket News

''It Was A Serious WTF Moment'': Former Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland On Ball-tampering Fiasco

Written By Digital Desk | Mumbai | Published:


  • James Sutherland wished he had acted in time, during the time of the incident.
  • The ball-tampering incident occurred on the second day of the second test between South and Africa, which led to the bans of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

Former Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland expressed his regret over the infamous ball tampering incident that sent shockwaves across the cricketing fraternity earlier in March.

The incident occurred on the second day of the second test between South and Africa, which led to the ban of former skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner from international cricket for a period of one year. Youngster Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera rubbing the surface of the ball with sandpaper, was handed a nine-month ban for his role in the incident.

Then-coach Darren Lehmann resigned and Sutherland eventually chose to step down from his position after coming under sustained pressure. Speaking to ESPNCricinfo on his last day in-charge, Sutherland wished he had acted in time 

"At a guess, it would've been about midnight I suppose (that he turned off the TV) but, yeah, I wish I was watching, absolutely. It was a serious WTF moment there. I'd like to think that my judgment and possibly influence would have meant that the media conference would have gone slightly differently."

After the incident blew out proportions, Smith and Bancroft attended a press conference where they admitted to the incident and stated that the decision to tamper with the ball was made by the ''leadership group. They further claimed that the object used for tampering was not sandpaper, but yellow tape. However, that fact was later refuted after an investigation by Cricket Australia.

Sutherland admitted there were warning signs, claimed he voiced his concerns but they went unheeded: "As we know, that was part of the penalty and the severity of the penalty was to some extent related or at least was consequential in terms of how that was handled -- not telling the truth, or not telling the whole truth. Part of the extent of my disappointment around Cape Town is heightened by what happened earlier in the series, and my feeling that there were warning signals. There were lots of other things going on, and some disgraceful behavior during the Port Elizabeth Test, provocation by opposition fans but also administrators from the opposition team."

(Agency inputs)