Qantas Tour of South Africa

Spirit of cricket still lives: Markram

Proteas star reveals South Africa reactions as ball-tampering scandal hit but says game's integrity remains intact


17 April 2018, 09:21 AM AEST

South Africa's Aiden Markram is convinced the 'spirit of cricket' is still alive in the wake of Australia's ball-tampering scandal.

The 23-year-old Proteas opener and his teammates found themselves caught up in an international furore during their 3-1 Test series victory which saw Australia skipper Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft banned by Cricket Australia for their roles in the saga.

However Markram, who distinguished himself with two centuries in the series and was touted as a future Proteas captain, believes the game's integrity remains largely intact.

Asked if the spirit of cricket still exists, he said: "I do think it exists, yes. On the field, there are a lot of pressures to deal with and a lot of competitive juices that get flowing, and that's when it's the toughest part to try to keep it in the spirit of cricket.

"But definitely, afterwards or after something, let's say, happens that is not in the spirit of cricket, you get your apology very quickly and you get your reasons behind it.

"If the reasons make sense to you, then you accept your apology; if not, you try to look past it.

"For as long as I play, wherever I play in the world, it's something I'll encourage and drive forward because at the end of the day, it is the gentleman's game and it's a big part of cricket itself."

Markram was speaking at Durham, where he has joined the county for the English domestic season, one of several Proteas stars to spend the northern summer on England's domestic circuit.

The opener was in the middle of another flashpoint on the tour, alongside Quinton de Kock in the Durban stairwell when words from the wicketkeeper drew an irate response from Warner.

Markram claimed at the end of the fourth day in Durban's opening Test that nothing that could be considered against the 'spirit of cricket' had happened, before CCTV footage was later leaked. Warner was fined 75 per cent of his match fee for that incident.

The South Africans were bystanders as the ball-tampering drama unfolded during the third Test in Cape Town, and he admits the players were stunned when they learned what had transpired.

"We were very shocked," he said. "The heat of the series was obviously happening. It was the third Test match and it was a crunch game, and the next thing, the story broke out.

"Everyone woke up the next morning and the guys couldn't believe what had happened. It obviously hit home overnight and it was tough to see what the Australians went through.

"You don't wish that on your worst enemy, so I'm sure they're glad it's done and we're glad it's done. The punishments that were dealt out were harsh, but having said that, you also can't let people get away with what they did."