'Bonehead decision': Symonds slams Aussie cricket's great mistake

Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has slammed the actions of certain players in Cape Town’s infamous ball-tampering saga.

“It was a bonehead decision to go to that. We don’t need to be doing that,” Symonds told Fox Sports.

“If someone plays better cricket than you on the day and in the game and they beat you, and you’ve had a crack, well that’s fine, you shake hands and accept defeat and you move on.”

The big-hitting Queenslander suggested the actions of a few Test players on the embarrassing day tarnished the reputations built up over decades of great leaders and players wearing the Baggy Green.

“I was hurt, disappointed and concerned for what backlash it was going to have for the past players that had got Australian cricket into the heights that it had (reached),” Symonds said.

Andrew Symonds says the ball-tampering saga damaged the reputation of Australian cricket. Pic: Getty

“I thought of people like AB (Allan Border), the battles he had getting the team back into the top three sides in the world.

“The two captains that I played under, Stephen (Waugh) and Ricky (Ponting), I felt for those men.

“And obviously our great players that played the game in the right spirit and didn’t go to that. The thing with it was we didn’t need to go to that.”

Symonds certainly didn’t miss the obvious double standards and hypocrisy within the global condemnation of the Aussie player’s actions in South Africa, saying professional cricket players had been messing with the ball “for 100 years”.

“People are looking for a mistake like this and everyone piled in from every corner of the globe to put it on us,” he said.

Cardiff, Britain – June 15, 2018 Australia’s Tim Paine (L) and former captain Ricky Ponting during nets Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Warne questions Tim Paine captaincy

Former leg-spinner Shane Warne has said that Australia’s Test captaincy and vice-captaincy positions are still open to be grabbed, adding, that the team has always followed the policy of choosing the best side.

The 48-year-old, who had earlier hailed current Australian skipper Tim Paine as a “quality person”, stated that fitting a team around one person is not a good idea in the game of cricket.

“The Australian way is always to pick your best team. There is a lot of talk about that should Tim Paine be in the side? He is the captain at the moment. But we, as Australians, should always pick our best team and then pick your captain and vice-captain from that,” Cricket.com.au quoted Warne, as saying.

“I don’t think we should just make a captain and then fit a side around him. I think the captain and vice-captain should still be up for grabs,” he added.

Reflecting on the captaincy of Paine, the legendary bowler said that if he is the best person in the team to lead the side then he should definitely be the leader of the national squad.

Former Australian stalwart Shane Warne has stated that current Test skipper Tim Paine is not the long-term solution to lead the side.

“I want to see us pick the best side. If Tim Paine is in the best side and he is the best guy to be captain, then make him captain,” Warne said.

Australian coach Justin Langer, on the other hand, completely backed the leadership abilities of Paine and asserted that the present captain is well equipped, both personally and strategically, to lead the side.

“He carries himself well. He’s got so many of the strong leadership attributes that I respect – he leads by example, he’s a very caring person, he’s very well prepared both personally and strategically from a captain’s point of view,” Langer said.

The Australian team had to go through a major leadership reshuffle after their former captain Steve Smith and former vice-captain David Warner were handed a one-year ban by the Cricket Australia for their involvement in a massive ball-tampering scandal that took place during the four-match Test series against South Africa at New Lands.

Since then, the team has been struggling to get a perfect combination of players and leaders in the squad.

The captain-coach duo of Tim Paine and Justin Langer are all set to go ahead with their first Test assignment together while on a 10-day leadership tour of the United States starting next week.