CA open to new information on ball-tampering scandal

Published May 17, 2021
In this file photo, Cameron Bancroft of Australia (second R) is questioned by the umpire regarding ball tampering as captain Steve Smith looks on. - AP//File
In this file photo, Cameron Bancroft of Australia (second R) is questioned by the umpire regarding ball tampering as captain Steve Smith looks on. - AP//File

MELBOURNE: Cricket Australia (CA) has said it was open to hearing any new information regarding the infamous 2018 Cape Town scandal in the wake of opening batsman Cameron Bancroft’s comments suggesting that the team’s bowlers were aware of the ball-tampering tactics.

Following an investigation former Test opener was banned for nine months for his role in the incident, while then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were stripped of their leadership positions and handed year-long suspensions.

The CA review had at that time cleared the rest of the team and the support staff from any wrongdoing or knowledge of the damaging incident but Bancroft’s interview to The Guardian in England where he is preparing for a season with county side Durham, on Friday has reopened old wounds.

“CA has maintained all along that if anyone is in possession of new information in regards to the Cape Town Test of 2018 they should come forward and present it,” the board said in a statement on Sunday. “The investigation conducted at the time was detailed and comprehensive. Since then, no one has presented new information to CA that casts doubt on the investigation’s findings.”

Bancroft was caught on television hiding yellow sandpaper, which had been used to rough up the ball, in his trousers during the third Test against South Africa at the Newlands in Cape Town.

He admitted he lied in a subsequent news conference, saying he used sticky tape covered in dirt to change the ball’s condition.

Smith later admitted the plan to use sandpaper had been hatched by the team’s leadership group.

“All I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part,” Bancroft told the paper when asked if Australia’s bowlers were aware of what he was doing. “Obviously what I did benefits bowlers. I guess one thing I learnt through the journey and being responsible is that’s where the buck stops [with himself]. Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision.”

When pressed further to clarify if the bowlers knew, he replied: “Uh... yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”

Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh and Nathan Lyon all bowled in the game and remain involved in the Australian set-up.

Darren Lehmann also quit as head coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review said their ‘arrogant and controlling’ win-at-all-costs culture was partly to blame for players bending the rules. But no one else in the team was held to account.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2021

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