Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has come out in support of Steve Smith and said he took the blame for everyone during the sandpaper gate scandal. ‘Chief plotter’ David Warner, Cameron Bancroft and then-captain Steve Smith were banned for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal at Newlands in 2018.
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Steve Smith and David Warner were handed a 12-month ban each while Bancroft was given a nine months suspension. Besides this, Smith and Warner were also stripped off their captaincy roles. Smith was also given another two-year ban on his captaincy which came to an end recently.
Steve Smith took the blame for everyone else: Andrew Flintoff
Steve Smith faced plenty of humiliation from media across the world. He was escorted out of the airport in South Africa as if he was some ‘criminal’. Boos and jeers from the crowd did not stop wherever Smith went. On his arrival to his country, Steve Smith broke down, while addressing a media conference and apologised for his mistake.
Flintoff believes the team knew about the plan well in advance but Steve Smith did not bring them to picture. The ex-English all-rounder, spoke about it from experience, and similar sights he has witnessed on the cricket field.
“I can’t believe that the whole team isn’t in on it. As a bowler, if someone gives me a ball that’s been tampered with, I know initially. One of the things that Steve Smith did is take the blame for everyone else,” Flintoff told Talksport.
“Things like ball tampering have gone on for a long, long time and I think it’s just the degrees where you take it. We were accused of putting sweets on the ball. People put sunscreen on it, tried everything they can,” he added.
Steve Smith, however, made a brilliant comeback to international cricket. He regained top ranking in the longest format of the game, pipping India captain Virat Kohli, and continued to contribute from the fore for the national team.