Former England skipper Michael Vaughan.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan.

Dragging up ball-tampering scandal has shown there are cracks in Australia team, says Vaughan

ANI | Updated: May 19, 2021 10:40 IST

London [UK], May 19 (ANI): With Cameron Bancroft's recent comments on the Sandpaper Gate fiasco, the episode has once again become a talking point in the cricketing world and former England skipper Michael Vaughan believes Joe Root will be enjoying the turn of events going into the Ashes at the end of the year.

"Dragging up the ball-tampering scandal has shown there are cracks in the Australia team that England could exploit if they start the Ashes series well later this year. David Warner, Steve Smith and the bowlers are under scrutiny again, and it would only take a poor Australia performance in the first Ashes Test for the pressure to mount. The captain, Tim Paine, is under the microscope after defeat by India, and while some think this could galvanise Australia, rarely are such public problems good for a team's unity.

"Joe Root will be enjoying this and thinking it could help. He knows an argument or two in the opposing team is always good. But fundamentally, England still have to play great cricket to win in Australia. They should not become distracted by Australia's problems. Enjoy it in private, but rise above it in public," Vaughan wrote in his column for The Telegraph as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.

The former skipper also wants the English team to focus on their own game and come out strongly against a quality Australian outfit.

"England have enough to worry about in their own backyard, by making sure they arrive with a settled batting unit, a fit bowling attack and a team who can ultimately win in those conditions. There are cracks in the England team as well, and I see two sides who are quite similar. Both are quite vulnerable and that should make for a fascinating contest," he wrote.

While the Australian bowlers from the Cape Town Test came out with a statement on Tuesday, Vaughan says not many professionals believe the use of sandpaper to tamper with the ball would have been known only by Bancroft, skipper Steve Smith and David Warner.

"Not many former professionals I have spoken to believe something like that would be confined to just three people. There might be some in a dressing room who may not like it and disagree with a course of action, but say nothing because they do not want to go against the captain. I can see how that happens.

"Ultimately, this shows what happens if you do a piecemeal investigation and leave questions unanswered. It will keep biting you on the backside and does not do anyone any good.

"Cricket Australia probably felt it looked into it properly and hoped everyone would move on. A lot of damage was done to Australian cricket's reputation and to those involved. I felt at the time the bans were too severe, and I can see why Cricket Australia would not want to go back over it. You cannot ban players retrospectively," he wrote.

Vaughan also feels that Smith should get the job once Paine decides to retire if he is the best man for the position.

"It is time to move on. I would not be raking it over again. Individuals have served their time. There is speculation Smith will be reappointed captain after the Ashes. I believe he should be if he is the best man for the job. He should not be kept on the naughty step forever because of ball-tampering. Everyone can change for the better. I do not see many alternatives to him, either," he wrote. (ANI)