Freddie Flintoff reveals theory over Australia's ball-tampering scandal

Former England captain Andrew Flintoff believes the entire Australia team were involved in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

Then-captain Steve Smith, vice-skipper David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft all received suspensions from Cricket Australia after the team were caught attempting to change the condition of the ball with sandpaper in a Test match against South Africa.

Smith’s career was temporarily halted by the ban but he has since returned to the Australia side and reestablished himself as one of the best players in the world, with his tally of 774 runs in seven innings helping Justin Langer’s side retain the Ashes in England last summer.

England legend Flintoff says Smith ‘took the blame’ for the ball-tampering scandal and believes the rest of the Australia team would have been aware of the cheating.

‘I can’t believe that the whole team wasn’t in on it,’ Flintoff, who scored 7,315 runs and took 400 wickets for England, said on talkSPORT.

‘As a bowler, if someone gives me a ball that’s been tampered with, I know immediately. One of the things that Steve Smith did is take the blame for everyone else.

‘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 suncream on it, tried everything they can.

‘Sandpaper is wrong, but it’s stupid more than anything. But I can’t believe that everyone in the team wasn’t involved in some way or another.’

Smith is once again eligible for a leadership position in the Australia team but former captain Michael Clarke believes he should avoid becoming skipper for the second time.

‘In sport in this country we have a sense of the best player needs to be the captain,’ Clarke said last month. ‘I don’t agree with that.

‘I think the best captain needs to be the captain. Steve Smith is Australia’s best batsman but I don’t necessarily think he is the right man to captain Australia.’

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