‘Focus only on results’ led to ball-tampering scandal – Josh Hazlewood
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood believes “a focus only on results” was to blame for the team’s poor behaviour, leading to the ball-tampering scandal.
The 27-year-old seamer, who is missing the ODI tour to England due to a back injury, also said the squad were taken by surprise by the scale of the reaction to what happened in Cape Town.
“It’s a big tour always South Africa, coming off the back of an Ashes as well which was quite stressful,” Hazlewood told News Corp. “All big tours are stressful and that added pressure we probably put on ourselves as much as anyone to win.
“Where the stress has come from is that we are pretty much measured on our cricket ability, not as people off the field, which we had probably got away from in the past six months, 12 months. A focus only on results I guess drives people to do different things and we are only measured on our cricket success.
“I don’t think that’s how it is now, I think that’s changed a little bit, JL has talked a lot about how we are behaving off the field and we are going to be measured on that as well which is a good sign.”
Hazlewood admitted the team did not immediately realise the seriousness of the scandal.
“We went to bed that night and Australia hadn’t woken up yet, when it hit back in Australia and we woke up it was quite surprising how big a reaction it was,” he said. “It wasn’t massive in South Africa, all the Australian writers know it’s going on here and there and around different teams and people have been done in the past, I guess they talked it down a bit if anything but once it hit home the media went the other way and the reaction was massive.”
Hazlewood also suggested that Steve Smith was not ready to be captain of Australia.
“Cricket-wise I think he was ready, he probably wasn’t ready with everything that came with it I guess.
“It’s a different time now where we’re basically cricketers from the time we leave school and we don’t really experience life outside of cricket and the cricket environment, back in those times they probably got out in the world, had a few jobs, learned a lot of life lessons. Now you go straight from school into a cricket environment and cricket is all you know.”
New head coach Justin Langer recently told Sky Sports he thought Smith “maybe just wasn’t strong enough in his leadership”.