Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has voiced his opinion in the ongoing ball-tampering saga that has plunged the Australian cricket team to one of its worst crisis. Waugh, a hugely respected figure in Australia, said he was "deeply troubled" by the turn of events in Cape Town and called for "positive action" to regain the trust and faith of every cricket fan. (Also Read: How Ball Tampering is Done)
The 52-year-old Waugh, who led Australia to 15 of their world-record 16 successive Test victories and to the 1999 World Cup title, said the ball-tampering incident has failed a strong culture followed over the years by the Australian cricket team.
"Like many, I'm deeply troubled by the events in Cape Town this last week, and acknowledge the thousands of messages I have received, mostly from heartbroken cricket followers worldwide," Waugh said in a statement released on his Facebook page.
"The Australian Cricket team has always believed it could win in any situation against any opposition, by playing combative, skillful and fair cricket, driven by our pride in the fabled Baggy Green.
"I have no doubt the current Australian team continues to believe in this mantra, however some have now failed our culture, making a serious error of judgement in the Cape Town Test match.
Waugh's statement comes after Cricket Australia's 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. Cricket Australia's head of integrity Iain Roy and high-performance manager Pat Howard are leading the investigation in Cape Town.
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.
Waugh also called on the authorities to revisit the Spirit of Cricket document and said he is for all "positive action" to ensure the betterment of the game.
"In 2003, we modified the Spirit of Cricket document originally created by the M.C.C., to empower our players to set their own standards and commit to play the Australian way.
"We must urgently revisit this document, re-bind our players to it and ensure the spirit in which we play is safe-guarded for the future of the sport, and to continue to inspire the dreams of every young kid picking up a bat and ball and for every fan who lives and breathes the game.
"A focused and balanced perspective is needed in the condemnation on those involved in this, with a clear and critical consideration to the social impact and mental health of all players. I will support all positive action to ensure an outcome for the betterment of the game, regaining the trust and faith of every fan of cricket."
Meanwhile, 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".
Turnbull, along with cricket mad Australians, are demanding answers and action with the reputation of their favourite sporting team in tatters.