Monday, December 6News That Matters

Bancroft suggests some Aussie bowlers did know about ball-tampering plot

Cricket Australia have invited those with fresh evidence relating to their Test team’s ball-tampering scandal of 2018 to come forward, after Cameron Bancroft implied the bowlers knew what was going on.

In an interview with The Guardian, Bancroft said it was ‘self-explanatory’ when asked if some of an Australian attack comprising Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Marsh and Nathan Lyon were aware the state of the ball was being altered.

‘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,’ a spokesperson for the Australian board said.

Cameron Bancroft's comments could spark new inquiry into the ball-tampering scandal

Cameron Bancroft's comments could spark new inquiry into the ball-tampering scandal

Cameron Bancroft’s comments could spark new inquiry into the ball-tampering scandal

Bancroft (pictured) was caught applying sandpaper to the ball against South Africa in 2018

Bancroft (pictured) was caught applying sandpaper to the ball against South Africa in 2018

Bancroft (pictured) was caught applying sandpaper to the ball against South Africa in 2018

‘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.’

When questioned about others’ knowledge, Bancroft, who served a nine-month ban and has played only two Tests since, said: ‘Yeah, look, all I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part.

‘Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory. I guess one thing I learnt through the journey and being responsible is that’s where the buck stops [with Bancroft himself]. Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision.’ Asked again if the bowlers knew, following a pause, he is said to have replied: ‘Uh… yeah, look, I think, yeah, it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.’

David Warner, Steve Smith (pictured right) and Bancroft (pictured left) were all banned

David Warner, Steve Smith (pictured right) and Bancroft (pictured left) were all banned

David Warner, Steve Smith (pictured right) and Bancroft (pictured left) were all banned

During the investigation that followed South Africa’s 322-run victory, only Bancroft, who applied sandpaper to the ball’s leather surface, plus the captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were hit with sanctions.

The senior duo served 12-month suspensions and were discounted from leadership roles with Australian teams for two years and life respectively.

Coach Darren Lehmann quit a few days later. CA chairman David Peever, Pat Howard, the high performance manager, and Mark Taylor, a board director, resigned later that year.

Former captain Smith at a press conference following the ball tampering scandal

Former captain Smith at a press conference following the ball tampering scandal

Former captain Smith at a press conference following the ball tampering scandal

Twelve months on from the Newlands episode, then Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts defended the work of the governing body’s integrity unit between that match and the following one in Johannesburg, saying that CA’s contingencies ranged from sending out no fresh players at all or a full XI dependent on the findings of the investigation.

In other words, they were prepared for the ex-head of integrity Iain Ross to sanction none of the team or all of them. The end result was that Bancroft was punished for his actions, Warner for directing them and Smith for allowing the events to unfold on his watch.

Back in March 2019, Roberts added that if anyone had ‘concerns about ball-tampering or any concerns about any integrity issue in the game, we’ve invited them to report that through our anonymous integrity hotline or through other means that are available to them’. He said: ‘If there are any reports or allegations as opposed to innuendo, we will investigate thoroughly.’

Warner (pictured) and Smith served one-year bans for their roles in the scandal

Warner (pictured) and Smith served one-year bans for their roles in the scandal

Warner (pictured) and Smith served one-year bans for their roles in the scandal