Former South African fast bowler Morne Morkel has said that the Sandpaper gate incident played out in the open under rather chaotic circumstances in the Newlands in 2018. The 36-year-old added that he was half-asleep in the change room when he sensed something fishy, as he could hear the match on TV.
Morne Morkel was the Man of the Match in the Cape Town Test for claiming nine wickets as the hosts won the game by 322 runs. The match, though, will always be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Recalling the sequence of events, Morne Morkel told The Grade Cricketer in a YouTube interaction:
“I’ll never forget it. We just got off the field, and in our change room, we have got mattresses where bowlers can have a 20-minute sleep as part of recovery, or you can just lie down. The TV was on, and I was just snoozing away. You can hear when you are lying down. When a wicket falls or a boundary is hit, you can make out from the noise.”
Morne Morkel continued in this regard:
“And, there was a different sort of noise. As I was dozing away, I wondered what was going on here. So my one eye just glanced at the TV, and the next thing, they showed it on the telly, and our entire change room also, sort of exploded. We obviously saw Cameron (Bancroft) put the sandpaper down his pants. The crowd was just going up because they showed it on the big screen. It was 10-15 minutes of chaos.”
The former Proteas pacer added that once the controversy broke, South Africa always had the upper hand and made sure to keep Australia on the mat. Morne Morkel said in this regard:
“When something like that happens, you know, as a team, that you have the upper hand. It was up to us to stamp our authority and take them down. You didn’t have to say anything. You just stared at a guy, and they knew that was the case. It was a great day of cricket for me, taking nine wickets (in the match), and walking away with the Man of the Match in my second-last Test was special. But yeah, the Test match will be remembered for a lot of other things."
Why Sandpaper gate won’t find mention in Morne Morkel’s book
Asked if a book on the controversy could be expected from him in the near future, Morne Morkel replied in the negative. Morkel said that enough has been said and written about the controversy.
“No, the story is done and dusted. It has got enough attention. It is time to move on. I have no real story to tell. (Laughs) I was asleep; I didn’t know what was going on. They have paid the price. Life moves on, so no story to tell from my side,” Morne Morkel opined.
Morne Morkel retired from international cricket after the final Test of the series against Australia in Johannesburg. He picked up three wickets in the match as South Africa clinched the Test by 492 runs.
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