The cricket fraternity was left stunned when Australian cricketers admitted their involvement in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera trying to tamper the ball with sandpaper in the Cape Town Test. The incident thus was named "Sandpaper Gate" and is one of the darkest moments in Australian cricket history.
Steve Smith, the Australian skipper on the tour, admitted that the leadership group knew about the incident. Cricket Australia took a strong action and banned Smith and Warner for one year while Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension. Coach Darren Lehmann also resigned soon after.
Recently, in an interview, Cameron Bancroft hinted that more Australian players were aware of the incident, which puts the spotlight on the bowling group that included Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon.
Former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist believes that Cricket Australia didn't do a proper investigation of the incident, adding that it will haunt Australian Cricket forever.
“It will linger forever, whether it is someone’s book or an ad hoc interview. Eventually I think names will be named. I think there are some people who have it stored away and are ready to pull the trigger when the time is right. I think Cricket Australia (CA) are responsible for why this will be continually asked...They went there and did this very quick review of that isolated incident and perhaps no one in the team knew," said Adam Gilchrist.
Gilchrist further went on to say that it would be 'naive' to think that only the leadership group was aware of the incident. He alleged that Cricket Australia was not keen to dig deep and thoroughly investigate the matter.
"Anyone would be naive to think people were not aware of what was going on about ball maintenance. I don’t think Cricket Australia wanted to go there. They did not want to go any deeper than that superficial example of ball-tampering. They did not investigate to see whether it was systemic had it been going on and on and on. Around the cricketing globe, it was widely accepted a lot of teams were doing it,’’ added Adam Gilchrist.
Supporting Gilchrist's claims, former Australian skipper Michael Clarke said that it is highly doubtful that only three players knew about the incident, backing Bancroft's claims that it is impossible for the bowlers to be not aware that the condition of the ball has changed.
“They’ve got to hold the ball to bowl with it. I can tell you now if you went and grabbed a pen, just a pen and put a little ‘1’ somewhere on my cricket bat; on top of the handle, on the edge of the bat, on the toe of the bat, on the face, under the grip, anywhere, just a little number one, I would have noticed. If you are playing sport at the highest level you know your tools that good it’s not funny. Can you imagine that ball being thrown back to the bowler and the bowler not knowing about it? Please,” said Michael Clarke told Fox Cricket.
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