If I was asked to tamper with the ball I would have – Justin Langer drops clanger

By Adam Ellis

New Australia head coach Justin Langer has claimed he would have tampered with the ball if ordered to do so by senior players like Allan Border.

Responding to questions regarding suspended batsman Cameron Bancroft, Langer told Channel Nine: “If Allan Border had asked me to tamper with the ball I would have.”

The former Australia opener succeeded Darren Lehmann as head coach across all three formats for the national side, after the saga that eclipsed the team’s tour to South Africa when Bancroft conspired with Steve Smith and David Warner to apply sandpaper to the ball in the third Test at Newlands.

12 month bans for their roles in ball-tampering were issued by Cricket Australia to captain Smith and vice-captain Warner, while Bancroft was give a nine-month suspended.

As a veteran of 105 Tests as a player, handed his first Baggy Green cap in 1993, Langer maintained that in his era Border would never have considered such actions.

“I would have because I would be too scared not to. The difference is Allan Border would never have asked me and Bobby Simpson would have killed me,” Langer added.

“He would have killed anyone who brought the game into disrepute. What I cannot believe is that Cameron Bancroft walked into the Australian cricket team and he was in a position where he made that decision.”

Langer revealed earlier this week he held nothing against Smith and Warner, nor Bancroft – one of his former players as coach of Western Australia.

And driving high standards as was the plan when he first entered the Test fray, the Australian said he would be closely involved with the trio in the months to come.

“If we can keep mentoring them and helping them, and they want to keep getting better and meet the standards of the Australian cricket team, then, of course, they will be welcome back,” he added.

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