New Australia head coach Justin Langer sympathised with the position Cameron Bancroft found himself in Cape Town when he became the center of attention of the cricketing world for his role in the ball-tampering scandal. Langer said he would have cheated too if instructed to by senior players when he first played Test cricket.
The 47-year-old former top-order batsman, who made his Test debut against West Indies in Adelaide in 1993, added that the difference was that in his era the idea would never have even been considered by the-then captain Allan Border or coach Bob Simpson.
“If Allan Border had asked me to tamper with the ball I would have,” Langer was quoted as telling Australia’s Channel Nine. “I would have because I would be too scared not to. The difference is Allan Border would never have asked me and Bobby Simpson would have killed me.
“He would have killed anyone who brought the game into disrepute. What I cannot believe is that Cameron Bancroft walked into the Australian cricket team and he was in a position where he made that decision.”
Bancroft got the lightest punishment among the banished trio, as it was believed he was only following the orders of David Warner, with Steve Smith not doing enough to prevent it from happening.
Langer, who played 105 Tests from 1993 to 2007, has previously worked as Australia’s batting coach and began a successful stint in charge of Western Australia in 2012.
Langer played in a golden era for Australian cricket, with greats such as Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath. The new coach spoke glowingly about a “serious changing room” back then, that would not have let such a scenario unfold.
Langer, Bancroft’s former coach at Western Australia, reiterated that all three players caught up in the scandal deserved a chance to work their way back into the team after having served their bans.
“If we can keep mentoring them and helping them, and they want to keep getting better and meet the standards of the Australian cricket team, then, of course, they will be welcome back,” he said.