Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke, has called for Cricket Australia and CEO James Sutherland to act on the disappointment of Cape Town, as the media awaits the return of Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and all involved in the ball tampering incident.
Despite lamenting the way the incident took place, Clarke is fearful for the scrutiny and media pressure that will be on Smith upon his return.
“I can tell you now there’s no worse feeling when you’re driving to a service station or a Woolworths and you’re too embarrassed to get out of the car because you feel like everyone’s staring at you and everybody is looking at you.” Michael Clarke told Channel Nine on Monday.
“That’s my fear for Smithy at the moment. I feel for him and I don’t want to see that happen.”
The incident occurred on Day 3 of the third Test in Newlands, where Bancroft was caught by on-field cameras using tape-like material to help rough up the ball and encourage reverse swing.
The former captain knows first hand of the media pressures after his relationship ended with then-partner, Lara Bingle.
The ball tampering incident has been backlashed by Australian supporters, as well as Australian personalities including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and former wicket-keeper, Adam Gilchrist.
Adding salt to the wound, the Australians were completely dismantled on the final once it became known of the incident, losing the Test by 322 runs. However, you could sense the Test was over as Australian media had turned off the team, and called for everyone involved to be sacked.
Prior to the beginning of the fourth day, both Smith and David Warner were stood down as captain and vice-captain respectively, with Tim Paine taking the role for the remainder of the Test.
“It’s been a horrible 24 hours,” Paine told reporters after Australia’s 322-run defeat inside four days.
“They’re struggling, but probably the reality and the enormity of what’s happened is starting to sink in.
“I don’t think we all would have expected this to be as big as it has been and particularly the fallout that we have seen from back home.”