Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday said the cheating plot involving the national cricket team was a "disgrace" and called on Cricket Australia to "act decisively and emphatically". The cricket authorities' investigation into the plot that plunged the team into crisis and threatens the future of its captain and best player began on Monday after two senior officials arrived in South Africa to start work uncovering the extent of the rot.
"They (Cricket Australia) now have to make sure that this great, national game, this great international game, that is synonymous with fair play, is once again a game that is played by champions that everybody can look up to. I mean, this has been a shocking affront to Australia. It is, you know, how many of us, as children, how many of us as fathers and mothers, have had children who have looked up to the Australian team? Have looked up, you know, to their idols, to their role models," Turnbull said.
Cricket Australia's head of integrity Iain Roy and high-performance manager Pat Howard are leading the investigation in Cape Town.
Turnbull, along with cricket mad Australians, are demanding answers and action with the reputation of their favourite sporting team in tatters.
He says he discussed a variety of issues with Cricket Australia Chairman David Peever, including the need to eradicate sledging from the Australian's game, which he described as being out of control.
"This cheating is a disgrace. Look we all know that, it is a terrible disgrace. And we, Cricket Australia, is dealing with it, they have to investigate it and they have to act, continue to act decisively and emphatically, and we have to, where do we want to get to? I'll tell you where we want to get to, we want to get to the point where we can all say once again - not rhetorically but heartfelt and with sincerity - that cricket is a fair game, cricket is a game that is synonymous with a fair go and fair play, that is what has to happen."
"I want to add one other point. I think, and I've said this to David Peever (Cricket Australia Chairman), I won't go on to everything I have said to him but I say this, I think there has to be the strongest action taken against this practice of sledging. It has got right out of control, it is a, it should have no place in, you know, on a cricket pitch. I want to be very clear about this, this, the game of cricket is, should be one that once again is held up as a role model, and I think that some of the sledging and some of the shocking conduct that we have seen is also part of the process of review and reflection that is going to be undertaken," he added.
Team captain Steve Smith, who has temporarily stepped down, has confessed to being part of a player "leadership group" that came up with a plan to cheat by tampering with the ball during play on Saturday in the third test against South Africa in Cape Town.
Cameron Bancroft, a newcomer to the team, admitted that he was the player tasked with doing the on-field tampering, roughing up the ball with a piece of yellow adhesive tape and some dirt stuck to it in a desperate attempt to give the Australian bowlers an unfair advantage
Vice-captain David Warner temporarily stood down from his role a day after the cheating, and is implicated in being part of the plot by doing that.
Tough questions have also been asked by the Australian media over the involvement of coach Darren Lehmann, and if he knew about the plan.
(With AP Inputs)