Australia’s ball-tampering trio treated as criminals, says Di Venuto

first_imgSurrey’s head coach, Michael Di Venuto, has furiously defended the three Australian players who were banned for ball tampering last month, saying they were “treated as criminals” in the fallout from the scandal.Di Venuto, a former one-day international batsman who was Australia’s batting coach for three years until 2016, also launched a strident defence of the changing-room culture in the Australia team. The 44-year-old urged that the investigation into culture and conduct begins “at the top” with Cricket Australia management rather than the players, defending the environment fostered by Darren Lehmann, who stepped down as Australia’s coach in the aftermath. Share on WhatsApp The Last Post has sounded for cricket on Channel Nine – but the great game carries on Since you’re here… Reuse this content Australia sport Share on LinkedIn When asked about the influence of the Cricket Australia organisation on the team’s hyper-aggressive disposition during the Ashes series, Di Venuto repeated that position. “You can’t lose to England,” he said. “That’s built up. When it does happen, and it is no different to what happens in this country when England lose to Australia, all hell breaks loose.”Of the situation during the third Test against South Africa, he said: “When you are in a different country and copping from all angles, you don’t know what sort of state the players were in to make that sort of decision. And the will to win. The Australian cricket team just wins. It’s not allowed to lose.”Despite Australia’s coaching job still being vacant, Di Venuto said he is yet to consider it given he is halfway through a four-year deal with Surrey, but as a self-described career coach, he stopped short of ruling it out. “You never say never [but] I am really happy doing what I am doing,” he said. “As you’ve seen, you take on that [international] role and you are away for 11 months a year, you are on the road. It is hard work.” In the current climate it is perhaps harder than ever. Support The Guardian Share on Twitter “I didn’t think there was any cultural issues during my involvement with the Australian team,” Di Venuto said. “I love the culture [Lehmann] created and the players loved the environment as well. Obviously, with the events that have happened recently, all of a sudden people are blaming culture and things like that. Take it back a couple of months, when we won the Ashes, there wasn’t too many people complaining.”Noting the close relationships he built with Steve Smith and David Warner during his time on the staff, Di Venuto described the decision made by the former team leaders and Cameron Bancroft to scuff the ball with sandpaper as “pretty dumb” but argued that the response has been disproportionate.“There has been a real assassination of their characters,” he said. “They are good people who have made mistakes. They are quality people who I have spent a lot of time with. It was tough to watch and see them treated as criminals for something that goes on in sport.” Read more … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. 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Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Topics Geoff Lemon Sign up for The Spin, our weekly cricket email. Read more Steve Smith news Di Venuto believes that having accepted their international bans, the players have “suffered enough” and should be able to “get on with their lives”. In turn he has opened the door to Smith and Warner at Surrey should the ECB allow them to play domestic cricket. “It is probably important that they play a bit of cricket at some stage,” he said. “If they are in the right mental state to play cricket, and the ECB will have to allow it to start with, then we’d be mad not to look at some of the world’s best players potentially playing.”Elaborating on his response to the review that Cricket Australia announced into the men’s team following the fiasco in Cape Town, Di Venuto made it clear that he would like the scrutiny to start further up the line. “It will be interesting to see what comes out of this culture stuff,” he added. “Hopefully they start from the top and work their way down to the team.” Australian ball tampering Share on Messenger Australia cricket team Share via Email England’s IPL dozen learning as well as earning on cricket’s glitziest stage David Warner Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Cricketlast_img

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