Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft “got away with murder” and should have copped two-year bans over the ball-tampering scandal, says West Indies legend Curtly Ambrose.
Smith and Warner are again eligible to play for Australia after serving one-year bans, while Bancroft served nine months for his role on the Cape Town test ‘Sandpapergate’ fiasco.
While the bans were by far the strongest ever imposed for ball-tampering, Ambrose suggested that they were lenient.
“You don’t want to deprive professionals of doing something that they love,” Ambrose said on Wednesday night on Bill and Boz.
“But when you break the law like that, you should be punished and I honestly thought that they got away with murder. I think a year was a little bit [lenient]. I would have said two years – just to send a message, because it was stupid, really.”
“However, I believe that they will never do it again. They’ve served their one-year term and I just hope that all of Australia support them and I hope that they go to the World Cup, because they’ll make the team stronger.”
Ambrose, a cricket icon who took 405 wickets from 98 tests at 20.99, said that he was astonished by what happened in South Africa.
“I was totally surprised, because having played against great Australian teams before, nothing like that ever happened,” he said.
“I couldn’t believe it, to be honest, especially in today’s world. I mean, 30 years ago, maybe you would have gotten away with it, even though it’s wrong. But with all the cameras around now, everything you do [is recorded].
“So I couldn’t understand why they even attempted it. And it was really sad. It was really a dark day for Australian cricket because I don’t think Australians, from what I know, they’re not like that. They’re very competitive, play hard cricket without breaking the rules.
“So I was quite surprised when that happened.”