Adam Gilchrist believes the infamous ball-tampering saga will dog Australian cricket for years to come, with new names surfacing now and then. Reacting to Cameron Bancroft's recent staggering revelation, the former wicketkeeper-batsman said more people like him have information on the plot and are waiting for the right time to 'pull the trigger'.
Bancroft, who was caught rubbing sandpaper on the ball in the infamous Test, suggested in a recent interview that it was 'self-explanatory' that more players were privy to the plot. This has put the spotlight on the bowling group - Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon - who claimed otherwise at the time of the incident.
Adam Gilchrist alleged that Cricket Australia knowingly brushed the issue under the carpet without a thorough investigation.
“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.
Adam Gilchrist also added that it would be 'naive' to think that only Steve Smith, David Warner and Bancroft were aware of the situation. He added that CA made it look like an isolated incident without probing if the ball-tampering was 'systematically' accompanying Australian cricket.
"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.
Steve Smith, David Warner and Bancroft were the only three players indicted, although the then Aussie captain had said a 'leadership group' was aware of the plot. Meanwhile, most of the lynchpins of CA's initial probe have moved on from the organization.
"They’ve got to hold the ball to bowl with it" - Michael Clarke adds to Adam Gilchrist's points
Echoing Adam Gilchrist's views, Michael Clarke said it's beyond doubt that more than three players knew about the incident. The former Australian captain backed Bancroft's remarks, saying that at the highest level of cricket, it is impossible for bowlers to not know about the condition of their tool.
“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.
CA has hinted that it's open to reinvestigating the issue if anyone has 'new information'. It remains to be seen what impact Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke's comments will have on such a step.