Infotainment Factory: Saker questions role in ball tampering saga

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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Saker questions role in ball tampering saga


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Former Aussie assistant coach David Saker has questioned whether he could have done more to ensure his players were never driven to cheat in Cape Town.

The ex-Victorian fast-bowler who enjoyed success alongside former head coach Darren Lehmann resigned from his post in February amid speculation of a soured relationship Justin Langer.

Having maintained a low-profile since, Saker has now put his name forward for head coach of the Melbourne Stars in the wake of Stephen Fleming’s imminent departure from the club.

Speaking with The Age, Saker reflected on the “devastating” impact of Australia’s ball-tampering saga, questioning whether he could have done more to prevent it, and shot down conjecture over his fractured relationship with Langer.

David Saker

“Under Boof [Lehmann] particularly we won an Ashes and had some really good series wins, so that was good. There were obviously some frustrating times after South Africa. New coach came in, things changed quite a bit and I probably wasn’t as passionate as I was before that,” Saker told The Age.

“On reflection, it’s probably a good thing that I got out, just refreshed myself. As I said, I’m ready to go again. I enjoyed my time with the Australian cricket team but I think it was time for me to move on.

“You’re sort of looking at yourself, saying ‘what could have I done to make sure that didn’t happen?’. It was really devastating, not just for me but for everyone involved. I’m sure that for a while there it affected the way I was around the group but I’ve moved on from that.”

The 52-year-old insisted however that he, nor upper management had ever condoned cheating to their players.

Steve Smith and David Warner

“We’ve never, ever condoned any sort of cheating. Obviously, teams throw the ball into the ground, most teams do that. That’s pretty much the way you go about it.”

Meanwhile, Australian captain Aaron Finch has talked about the “huge anxiety” he experienced after a poor run of form left him with doubts about making the World Cup squad.

In the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith, Finch was given a chance to open the batting in Australia’s Test side, but was dropped after a nightmare summer.

Speaking to SEN Radio, Finch explained how his lack of form had caused him to try harder and over-train, which resulted in him being mired in an even deeper slump.

Aaron Finch

"[I had] huge anxiety based on the World Cup coming up, being captain of the side and not getting the output I wanted leading from the front," he said.

"When I think of Australian captains - Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor, Allan Border - everyone leads from the front, and I was getting really frustrated, I was preparing, doing everything I thought I could to succeed, it just wasn't happening.

"The support I was getting was incredible, but in the back of your mind you are thinking, 'gee, the World Cup isn't far away, as a captain I could be left out of the squad'; then you start putting unrealistic pressure on yourself to perform when you can't control that. That takes care of itself if you do your job."

Former Aussie assistant coach David Saker has questioned whether he could have done more to ensure his players were never driven to cheat in Cape Town.

The ex-Victorian fast-bowler who enjoyed success alongside former head coach Darren Lehmann resigned from his post in February amid speculation of a soured relationship Justin Langer.

Having maintained a low-profile since, Saker has now put his name forward for head coach of the Melbourne Stars in the wake of Stephen Fleming’s imminent departure from the club.

Speaking with The Age, Saker reflected on the “devastating” impact of Australia’s ball-tampering saga, questioning whether he could have done more to prevent it, and shot down conjecture over his fractured relationship with Langer.

David Saker

“Under Boof [Lehmann] particularly we won an Ashes and had some really good series wins, so that was good. There were obviously some frustrating times after South Africa. New coach came in, things changed quite a bit and I probably wasn’t as passionate as I was before that,” Saker told The Age.

“On reflection, it’s probably a good thing that I got out, just refreshed myself. As I said, I’m ready to go again. I enjoyed my time with the Australian cricket team but I think it was time for me to move on.

“You’re sort of looking at yourself, saying ‘what could have I done to make sure that didn’t happen?’. It was really devastating, not just for me but for everyone involved. I’m sure that for a while there it affected the way I was around the group but I’ve moved on from that.”

The 52-year-old insisted however that he, nor upper management had ever condoned cheating to their players.

Steve Smith and David Warner

“We’ve never, ever condoned any sort of cheating. Obviously, teams throw the ball into the ground, most teams do that. That’s pretty much the way you go about it.”

Meanwhile, Australian captain Aaron Finch has talked about the “huge anxiety” he experienced after a poor run of form left him with doubts about making the World Cup squad.

In the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith, Finch was given a chance to open the batting in Australia’s Test side, but was dropped after a nightmare summer.

Speaking to SEN Radio, Finch explained how his lack of form had caused him to try harder and over-train, which resulted in him being mired in an even deeper slump.

Aaron Finch

"[I had] huge anxiety based on the World Cup coming up, being captain of the side and not getting the output I wanted leading from the front," he said.

"When I think of Australian captains - Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor, Allan Border - everyone leads from the front, and I was getting really frustrated, I was preparing, doing everything I thought I could to succeed, it just wasn't happening.

"The support I was getting was incredible, but in the back of your mind you are thinking, 'gee, the World Cup isn't far away, as a captain I could be left out of the squad'; then you start putting unrealistic pressure on yourself to perform when you can't control that. That takes care of itself if you do your job."

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