Sunday, December 5News That Matters

Cameron Bancroft has held ‘clear the air talks’ with Australian bowlers over Sandpapergate

Australia captain Tim Paine has revealed that Cameron Bancroft has held ‘clear-the-air’ talks with the four Australia bowlers who played in the ‘Sandpaper gate’ Test after implications that they knew of the ball-tampering scandal.

The 2018 affair, in which former Aussie opener Bancroft was seen using sandpaper to rough up the ball during a Test match against South Africa, reared its head again last week after the 28-year-old discussed the scandal with The Guardian.

Bancroft suggested that Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon had known about the attempts to alter the ball, prompting Cricket Australia to demand ‘new information’ amid a fresh probe. 

Tim Paine says Cameron Bancroft has held 'clear the air' talks with Aussie bowlers this week

Tim Paine says Cameron Bancroft has held 'clear the air' talks with Aussie bowlers this week

Tim Paine says Cameron Bancroft has held ‘clear the air’ talks with Aussie bowlers this week

‘Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,’ the batsman said.  

The four bowlers have since issued a strongly-worded statement maintaining their innocence while calling for an end to ‘rumour mongering’ and ‘innuendo’.

And Paine, who took over captaincy duties following Steve Smith’s ban after the scandal, has said that Bancroft has spoken with the four bowlers following his interview.

‘I think they’re frustrated that it keeps popping up but I think that’s part and parcel for everyone who played in that Test match,’ Paine said via Herald Live.

In a recent interview, Bancroft suggested that others were aware of the ball-tampering affair

In a recent interview, Bancroft suggested that others were aware of the ball-tampering affair

In a recent interview, Bancroft suggested that others were aware of the ball-tampering affair

Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have since written an open letter calling for an end to what they call 'innuendo and rumour mongering'

Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have since written an open letter calling for an end to what they call 'innuendo and rumour mongering'

Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have since written an open letter calling for an end to what they call ‘innuendo and rumour mongering’

‘Their mood was fine, I think they’ve spoken to (Bancroft), cleared the air there and I think everyone’s looking forward to moving on.

‘We’re all grown men and those guys have made contact with each other and sorted it out.’

Paine added that Bancroft’s interview would not hamper his chances of a return to the national side. The 28-year-old has not featured since serving his nine-month ban. 

‘We don’t pick Test teams on what they say in the media,’ he said. ‘We pick Test teams on how many runs they’re scoring … and that certainly won’t be held against him.’ 

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

Aussie captain Paine says that the bowlers have spoken with Bancroft and are 'moving on'

Aussie captain Paine says that the bowlers have spoken with Bancroft and are 'moving on'

Aussie captain Paine says that the bowlers have spoken with Bancroft and are ‘moving on’

CA conducted an investigation into the incident in 2018 and banned Bancroft for nine months, while former captain Smith and vice-captain David Warner were suspended for a year. 

Warner’s agent, James Erskine, has since said the three punished players were ‘treated despicably’.

‘The report that was done, they didn’t interview all the players. The whole thing was so badly handled, it was a joke,’ he told The Age newspaper.

‘But eventually the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, will come out and I know the whole truth.’

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke also opined that the four bowlers in question ought to have known of the condition of the ball. Since Cricket Australia’s request for ‘new information’, none has been forthcoming.  

STATEMENT FROM BOWLERS: 

We pride ourselves on our honesty. So it’s been disappointing to see that our integrity has been questioned by some journalists and past players in recent days in regard to the Cape Town Test of 2018.

We have already answered questions many times on this issue, but we feel compelled to put the key facts on the record again:

We did not know a foreign substance was taken onto the field to alter the condition of the ball until we saw the images on the big screen at Newlands

And to those who, despite the absence of evidence, insist that ‘we must have known’ about the use of a foreign substance simply because we are bowlers, we say this: The umpires during that Test match, Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth, both very respected and experienced umpires, inspected the ball after the images surfaced on the TV coverage and did not change it because there was no sign of damage.

None of this excuses what happened on the field that day at Newlands. It was wrong and it should never have happened.

We’ve all learned valuable lessons and we’d like to think the public can see a change for the better in terms of the way we play, the way we behave and respect the game. Our commitment to improving as people and players will continue.

We respectfully request an end to the rumour-mongering and innuendo.

It has gone on too long and it is time to move on.

Regards,

Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon

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