Smith and Bancroft will 'struggle for the rest of their lives', claims Chappell

Australia's Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft face a rocky road ahead after being involved in ball-tampering, Trevor Chappell has said.

Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith   -  Getty Images

Trevor Chappell, the man who caused a storm of controversy by bowling underarm to New Zealand in 1981, says Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft are now responsible for Australian cricket's "darkest day".

Chappell was ordered by his brother and captain Greg Chappell to deliver the last ball of the final over underarm against New Zealand in the World Series Cup at the MCG, denying Australia's opponents a fair opportunity to score the winning runs.

While not illegal, the tactic was widely derided and the International Cricket Council later banned it as being "not within the spirit of the game". 

On Saturday, Australian cricket was plunged into scandal after Smith admitted the team's leadership group had instructed Bancroft to deliberately interfere with the surface of the ball using a piece of yellow tape in the third Test against South Africa.

Smith has already been banned for the final match of the series and is reportedly facing a lengthy suspension, with vice-captain David Warner and head coach Darren Lehmann also believed to be in the firing line. 

As Cricket Australia's integrity officials conduct an investigation to determine the facts of the matter, Chappell has suggested the players involved could come to have their careers defined by the incident.

"What I did has lived with me ever since and it will be the same for Smith and Bancroft," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"They will struggle for the rest of their lives and be known as the ones who brought Australian cricket into disrepute.

"I'm the last one who comes up on Google as the man who took the lead role in Australian cricket's darkest day — it's a real relief I can finally drop that title."

Chappell's brother Greg later served as an Australian selector and India coach, while Ian Chappell went on to become a high-profile broadcaster.

And Trevor feels his role as the man who executed the controversial delivery against New Zealand limited his potential upon retirement. 

"I thought it was a good idea to underarm bowl at the time but not these days," he said.

"I struggled a lot with it mentally, I was vilified for years and people will still ask about it.

"I don't know if my brothers have done better in life than me after what happened, Greg copped it at the time, but the quiet life certainly chose me after that — my marriage broke down and I never remarried or had kids.

"These days all I do is coach cricket to kids and play golf."

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