Langer defends Bancroft: I would have tampered if told to


New Australia coach Justin Langer says he would have tampered with the ball, like Cameron Bancroft did in South Africa, if a senior player in the team had asked him to do it.

Bancroft was caught on camera trying to alter the condition of the ball in a Test against the Proteas in March and has subsequently been banned for nine months.

Former captain Steve Smith and David Warner were given one-year bans for their part in the scandal while coach Darren Lehmann resigned following the tour.

A veteran of 105 Tests, Langer cannot believe how the Australia team culture had got to a point where an inexperienced player like Bancroft was asked to do what he did.

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Langer told Channel Nine: “When I first became an Australian cricketer, if Allan Border had asked me to tamper with the ball I would have, because I would be too scared not too.

“The difference is that Allan Border would never have asked me, and Bobby Simpson (coach) would have killed me. He would have killed anyone who brought the game into disrepute.

“What I can’t believe is that Cameron Bancroft walked into the Australian cricket team and he was in a position where he made that decision.

“In terms of the culture and how it got to that point I don’t know, I am not close enough to say. But I will certainly find out. I will be walking into the cauldron soon and I’ll find out.”

While Cricket Australia have been criticised for the severity of the sanctions on the trio, Langer feels the players were right to accept the punishment.

The Aussie mentor continued: “They are really tough sanctions, but that said, they should be and the reason they should be is because we have said forever that we don’t bend the rules, we don’t cheat.

“[But] there’s not one person who has not made a mistake.”

Langer’s first assignment as the new Australia coach will be a tour to England next month where they will play five ODIs and a one-off T20.