Off The Field

Mark Taylor defends Australian bowlers over ball-tampering row

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Former Australian captain Mark Taylor has defended the Australian bowlers in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal. Earlier this week, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon – Australia’s four bowlers during the infamous Cape Town Test – released a statement and denied any knowledge of the plot to tamper with the ball.

Speaking on Channel 9’s show Sports Sunday, Mark Taylor backed the bowlers and stated:

“The bleeding obvious to me is they didn’t know that it had been doctored. You only have to read what they said during the week. If I could just read it out: ‘We did not know a foreign substance was taken on to the field to alter the condition of the ball’. And as they said, the two umpires in the game did not change the ball.”

Mark Taylor added: “So there was an attempt to change the condition of the ball but they didn’t get to do it. The umpire said, ‘That ball’s still fine, let’s get on with it’. So they did not know.”

The former skipper added that the bowlers in question have high integrity and would have said the same thing in 2018.

Mark Taylor opined: “I don’t think they (Cricket Australia) will ever be able to put it away. It is a bit like the underarm bowling incident of 40 years ago. This will continue to burn and bubble away. The question about whether Cricket Australia did enough three years ago – yes.
“We had a four-day window between the Cape Town Test and the start of the fourth Test, which was at Johannesburg. To send someone over, do an investigation, make a report and make some decisions around that. That was to send the three players home and then to deal with them. It wasn’t an ideal situation. It would have been great to have six months to do all this. We had a four-day window, and in that time, we got it right,” he asserted.

Mark Taylor also did not believe that the public release of the investigation report would aid in ending the debate over the matter. He said:

“It’s going to be part of the cricket folk history, part of the history you don’t want cricket to be known for, it will be there forever.”

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N Krishnamurthy