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"I think Cricket Australia are responsible for why this will be continually asked" - Adam Gilchrist on Sandpaper Gate

Cameron Bancroft (L) and Steve Smith (R) during the press conference at the end of Day 3 of the Cape Town Test
Cameron Bancroft (L) and Steve Smith (R) during the press conference at the end of Day 3 of the Cape Town Test
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Australia legend Adam Gilchrist has opined all the players associated with the infamous ball-tampering saga from 2018 will eventually be exposed. He lambasted Cricket Australia (CA) for nipping the matter in the bud without conducting a detailed investigation.

It’s been three years since Australia opener Cameron Bancroft was caught handling the ball using a sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, following which then captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Bancroft were handed temporary bans. However, the scandal has again come to light after Bancroft recently hinted at the bowlers also being aware of the plan.

Adam Gilchrist said the debates and allegations would be an ongoing cycle until all the names involved in the mishap surface.

“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,” the explosive wicketkeeper-batsman said on SEN’s Gilly and Goss podcast.

While Smith and Warner had to serve a 12-month ban from professional cricket, CA sanctioned Bancroft for a nine-month period. Adam Gilchrist further faulted the Australian cricket board for reviewing just that particular incident and not delving deeper into the root cause of what might have been a perpetual problem.

“I think Cricket Australia are responsible for why this will be continually asked. When they did their investigation at the time, they had Patty Howard the high-performance general manager, Iain Roy was the integrity officer...There was an opportunity for CA, if they were going to make such a strong statement, they needed to do a more thorough investigation to work out where the root of the problem was,” Adam Gilchrist explained.
“Anyone would be naive to think people were not aware with 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 whether it was systematic had it been going on and on and on,” Adam Gilchrist added in this regard.

In addition to the three batters being reprimanded, Australia head coach Darren Lehmann quit his job after the end of the fourth Test.


The Australian bowlers were also aware of the sandpaper usage, hinted Bancroft

Cameron Bancroft being questioned by umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth after the cameras caught him in the act
Cameron Bancroft being questioned by umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth after the cameras caught him in the act

Three years on from the Cape Town calamity, Cameron Bancroft admitted ruing his actions and that he has learnt his mistakes the hard way. It was in this very Guardian interview dated May 14 that he hinted that the Australian pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were also involved in Sandpaper Gate.

Interestingly, when the Australian team first came under fire, everyone except for Smith, Warner and Bancroft denied being privy to the developments. There were even reports saying some of the players wanted the three of them be sacked. But all of this has come under the scanner once again, courtesy of Cameron Bancroft.

“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,” Bancroft told The Guardian.

Bancroft’s comments and the ensuing rage from cricket-lovers prompted CA to open the doors for a re-investigation, inviting people to come up with fresh evidence if any. In the latest development on Monday (May 17), it is learnt that CA’s Integrity team has reached out to Cameron Bancroft to seek further details.


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Edited by Sai Krishna
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