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What went wrong on the darkest day in Australian cricket?

He’s one of the most renowned cricket journalists in the game and now he’s published a book on the dramatic ball-tampering scandal which rocked Australian cricket.

The book ‘Crossing the Line: how Australian cricket lost its way’ delves into the cultural issues which were building within the team – before it came to a head in Cape Town earlier this year.

With the Test series on a knife’s edge and tied at 1-1 all heading into the third Test, tensions rose to a new level on an already eventful series when Cameron Bancroft was caught using sandpaper on the match ball.

It left an ugly stain on Australian cricket with Steve Smith, David Warner and Bancroft all suspended for their roles in the incident, while Cricket Australia were left embarrassed by the momentous mistake that will haunt the national team for a long time to come.

“This is not a team to which this style of cricket comes naturally,” Haigh said.

“I think there was a sort aping of what was felt to be the requisite behaviours.

“Sometimes it did feel the players at press conferences were coming out with what they thought their overseers wanted to hear.

“I think those behaviours might have changed with Tim Paine.”

Haigh was also critical of the role of Pat Howard – who as High Performance Manager of Cricket Australia oversaw the whole incident.

“The big change that resulted from it (Argus Review) was the appointment of an Executive General Manager of team performance,” Haigh said.

“(He was) allegedly a single source of accountability for the performance of the Australian team and Australian set-up.

“You have only have to look at the accomplishments of the Australian system and team over the last six or seven years to draw your own conclusions about the performance of the incumbent Pat Howard.

“Having chewed up and spat out several coaches in that time and quite a lot of players and captains, it does seem strange that there’s this long strand of continuity.

“I think (his position) became untenable a while ago.”

It came after Howard on Wednesday announced he will not renew his role with Cricket Australia.

Haigh was also divided as to whether all three players will return to the Aussie set-up once their bans expire in the coming months.

“I certainly think the Australian public will welcome back Steve Smith,” Haigh said.

“I think David Warner…will be a formidable short form player, perhaps he won’t be a Test factor going forward.

“Cameron Bancroft’s probably got the biggest mountain to climb.”

All three players have made returns to their respective local and grade competitions.

Haigh’s book can be purchase online at:


Listen to the full interview below: