England’s Australian coach Trevor Bayliss says he is “embarrassed” by the ball-tampering row which has overshadowed his fellow countrymen’s tour of South Africa.
Australia captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft will be sent home after plotting to alter the ball’s condition in the third Test.
“I’m obviously disappointed – and as an Australian I’m embarrassed,” said Bayliss, who mentored Smith at New South Wales.
“Steve is a lovely young bloke who has made a terrible mistake.
“They obviously will be punished, but I’ve no idea how severely. We’ll have to see what Cricket Australia come up with.”
Bayliss, who oversaw England’s 4-0 defeat in Australia over the winter, does not believe any ball-tampering occurred during the Ashes.
But he says the response to the incident in Cape Town comes as a result of the way the Australian team has played their cricket in recent years.
“It’s almost like teams and people around the world have been waiting for them to stuff up so they can lay the boot in,” Bayliss said, speaking ahead of England’s second Test against New Zealand on Thursday.
“It’s one of those things that continually, over a period of time, builds and builds and unfortunately on this occasion it’s gone too far.”
Bancroft and Smith were exposed during the third day of the third Test when images showed the opening batsman take what he said was yellow tape out of his trouser pocket before rubbing the ball.
After the day’s play, Smith admitted the team’s “leadership group” – which includes Warner – had a plan, carried out by Bancroft, to tamper with the ball to “get an advantage”.
The trio will face “significant sanctions” by Cricket Australia within the next 24 hours, but Bayliss, 55, believes their actions could have a knock-on effect on the entire sport.
“It’s not just Australian cricket that’s being thought of in a negative way – it’s going to be the game as a whole,” he added.
“Players and teams around the world have got to take a step back and have a bit of a think about the way they go about things, and make sure the game continues on into the future and is held in the best possible light by everyone.”