(Reuters) - Reaction after Australia's Steve Smith, who has stepped down as captain, confessed on Saturday that the team's "leadership group" had hatched a plan to alter the condition of the ball during the third day of the third test against South Africa.
MALCOLM TURNBULL, Prime Minister of Australia
"Shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa. It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating. Our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play. How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief."
JAMES SUTHERLAND, Cricket Australia chief
"To our Australian cricket fans. We are sorry. We are sorry that you had to wake up this morning to the news ... that our Australian men's cricket team and our captain admitted to conduct that is outside both the laws of our game and spirit of cricket.
"This behaviour calls into question the integrity of the team and Cricket Australia... we share your anger and disappointment.
"Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met."
DAVID RICHARDSON, International Cricket Council chief executive
"The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore ‘serious’ in nature."
MICHAEL CLARKE, former Australia captain
"It's a terrible day for Australian cricket. I can't believe the leadership group have got a young kid playing in his eighth test match to do this."
TIM PAINE, Australia stand-in captain
"It's been (a) horrible 24 hours, difficult for all of us. I want to take this opportunity to apologise to our fans for what has happened."
ADAM GILCHRIST, former Australia wicketkeeper
"Australian cricket is the laughing stock of the sporting world."
SHANE WARNE, former Australia spinner
"Disappointed in Steve Smith as captain to go out there and do that. To me it was unAustralian. I don't care who you are you can't tamper with the ball."
FAF DU PLESSIS, South Africa captain, who in 2016 was found guilty of ball shining by applying saliva after deliberately sucking a mint.
"Ball shining versus ball tampering are two very different situations and one is much more serious than the other."
OTTIS GIBSON, South Africa coach
"I'm shocked at what's gone on. I've never seen anything as blatant as that."
SHAUN POLLOCK, former South Africa paceman
"It was pre-meditated and they've been caught. They have been shown to cheat."
GRAEME SMITH, former South Africa captain
"You've got to ask some tough questions of Steve Smith and (Australia coach) Darren Lehmann. They’ve obviously driven this process, they’re the leadership."
DALE STEYN, South Africa paceman
"Nothing in professional sport is done without the consent of your captain and coach."
KEVIN PIETERSEN, former England batsman
"The leaderships groups jobs (sic) are untenable. They've disgraced a great cricketing nation & test cricket."
MICHAEL ATHERTON, former England captain
"They are in crisis. This certainly will not be the end of it. There will be consequences for senior members of the team."
BOB WILLIS, former England paceman
"I would be very surprised if everyone in the dressing room didn't know what was going on. They were so naive to get caught."
MICHAEL VAUGHAN, former England captain
"Disgraceful behaviour by senior pros."
STUART BROAD, England paceman
"I saw Steve Smith in his press conference say it's the first time they've tried it - which, to me, it's surprising why they'd change a method that's been working."
MOHAMMAD KAIF, former India batsman
"Oh no! Bancroft. Very embarrassing. From the looks of it, this is not on. Haven't seen a series marred by controversies like this one in a long long time."
(Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris)