Former England captain Michael Vaughan opines that the recent blow-up of the 2018 Cape Town Sandpaper fiasco has indicated that still “there are cracks in the Australian team” that England can exploit in the Ashes later in the year.
Cameron Bancroft, who was banned along with Steve Smith and David Warner has hinted that the bowlers in that Test – Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon – were aware of the ball-tampering. Bancroft’s comments were met with a statement from the 4 bowlers, who all denied any knowledge of Bancroft’s action of scuffing the ball.
Michael Vaughan feels that Bancroft is being felt treated unfairly as he was ousted from the side after a couple of Tests in the 2019 Ashes on the trio’s return, while Warner, who also had a forgetful Ashes was continued in the side.
“Dragging up the ball-tampering scandal has shown there are cracks in the Australian team that could be exploited by England if they start the Ashes series well later this year,” Michael Vaughan wrote in his column for The Telegraph.
“David Warner, Steve Smith and the bowlers are all under scrutiny again and it would only take a poor performance in the first Ashes Test for Australia for the pressure to mount. The captain, Tim Paine, is under the microscope after losing to India and while some think this could galvanise Australia, rarely are such public problems good for a team’s unity.
“It’s surprising that this has all resurfaced. But Cameron Bancroft obviously feels he was thrown under a bus. He is unlikely to play for Australia again and yet he sees Steve Smith and David Warner back in the fold.”
Joe Root will be enjoying this, but England have enough to worry about in their own: Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan reckons that while Joe Root would be enjoying this issue in Australian cricket, he should also realize that the England team, too, is far from ideal. A packed schedule and injuries to key players recently – Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes – following the Test series loss to India have exposed the side once again for its vulnerabilities.
The 2005 Ashes-winning skipper advises the current English skipper to enjoy Australian cricket’s miseries in private, but perform well on the field as well in the Ashes. England has a couple of Test line up against New Zealand followed by a 5-Test series versus India.
“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. England have enough to worry about in their own backyard by making sure they arrive in Australia with a settled batting unit, a fit bowling attack and a team that can ultimately win in those conditions.
“There are cracks in the England team as well and I see two sides that are quite similar. Both teams are quite vulnerable and that should make for a fascinating contest,” Michael Vaughan further stated.