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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull calls for end to sledging in cricket after ball tampering row

Powers that be have been urged to clean up image of sport following fractious and controversial Test series between South Africa and Australia

Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull demanded Cricket Australia act decisively in investigating the incident. Lukas Coch / Reuters
Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull demanded Cricket Australia act decisively in investigating the incident. Lukas Coch / Reuters

Australia's prime minister called for an end to sledging in cricket on Tuesday, saying it was "right out of control" as he urged the sport to clean up its image amid a ball-tampering scandal.

Malcolm Turnbull described the cheating crisis in which captain Steve Smith admitted to masterminding a plot to change the ball's condition during the third Test against South Africa on Saturday as a "shocking affront to Australia".

He demanded Cricket Australia act decisively in investigating the incident. The governing body is expected to provide an update on Wednesday.

Turnbull added that authorities needed to crack down on sledging - verbal abuse involving players on both sides - if it wanted cricket to "once again [be] held up as a role model".

"I think there has to be the strongest action taken against this practice of sledging," he said in Canberra. "It has got right out of control ... it should have no place [in cricket].

"The game of cricket ... should be one that once again is held up as a role model."

The Test series between South Africa and Australia was ill-tempered even before Saturday's explosive admissions.

The first Test in Durban this month was plagued by an ugly row between vice-captain David Warner and South Africa's Quinton de Kock.

CCTV footage showed Warner being restrained by team-mates as he appeared to lose his temper during a confrontation on a staircase as the players walked to their dressing rooms.

The incident was reportedly over a jibe about Warner's wife Candice, with the Australian describing the remark as "vile and disgusting".

Both players were punished for the bust-up with Warner fined 75 per cent of his match fee and De Kock 25 per cent.

The recent Ashes series was likewise marred by tensions between Smith and England bowler James Anderson, with umpire Aleem Dar having to separate the pair when the Australian was batting.

Anderson described the Aussies as bullies who overstepped the line ahead of the Adelaide Test, with Smith retorting that the Englishman was one of the biggest sledgers in the game.

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Steve Smith steps down as Rajasthan Royals captain over ball-tampering scandal

Comment: CA must address cultural failings that led to ball-tampering scandal

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