"They're frustrated that it keeps popping up" - Tim Paine on Australian bowling quartet's Sandpaper Gate statement

Cameron Bancroft (front) and Steve Smith (back) admitted to the charges at the end of Day 3
Cameron Bancroft (front) and Steve Smith (back) admitted to the charges at the end of Day 3

A day after Australia’s bowling attack issued a strongly-worded statement denying being privy to the usage of sandpaper during the 2018 Cape Town Test, captain Tim Paine suggested all the players involved in the match are frustrated at the matter having resurfaced.

The developments came after Cameron Bancroft, who was caught tampering with the ball, recently hinted at the bowlers being aware of the infraction. The Australian captain mentioned that Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon aren't angry with the allegations but instead want to put them to bed.

“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. 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,” Tim Paine told reporters in Hobart.

Since featuring in that infamous Test against South Africa back in March 2018, Bancroft played just two matches for Australia - the first two games in the 2019 Ashes. He is currently plying his trade for Durham in the County Championship and will be in with a chance to come back into the Aussie setup with a long summer approaching.

While some people might be pondering whether the Australian opener merits a place in the side after speaking against his teammates, Tim Paine emphatically said the squads are not picked based on media statements.

“We don’t pick Test teams on what they say in the media. We pick Test teams on how many runs they’re scoring ... and that certainly won’t be held against him,” Paine, who lost the 2020/21 Border-Gavaskar series 1-2 at home, added.

Australia’s then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were banned by Cricket Australia (CA) from all professional cricket for 12 months, while 28-year-old Bancroft was sanctioned for a nine-month period.

“It has gone on too long and it is time to move on” – Australian bowlers in a joint statement

The Australian pace triumvirate during a practice session
The Australian pace triumvirate during a practice session

Cameron Bancroft, in a Guardian interview dated May 14, said it was “self-explanatory” whether or not the bowlers knew of the development. After Bancroft’s comments, Warner’s manager David Erskine and then Australian bowling coach David Saker too indicated that the bowling line-up must have been aware of the infringement.

The four bowlers then issued a joint statement for the Australian public and stated they didn’t know about any foreign substance being taken onto the ground until they saw it on the electronic screen. They further asked everyone to put a full stop on all kinds of “rumour-mongering and innuendo”.

All the players will again come together for a historic Test against Afghanistan in November before partaking in a bid to retain the Ashes in December-January.

Edited by Sai Krishna
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