Australia board contacts Bancroft over ball-tampering scandal

Filed on May 17, 2021
Australia's Steve Smith (right) and Cameron Bancroft during a press conference in Cape Town, on March 24, 2018. Smith and Bancroft sensationally admitted to ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa. (AFP file).

The former Test opener was banned for nine months for his role in the incident

Cricket Australia (CA) has asked batsman Cameron Bancroft if he has new information on the 2018 Cape Town scandal in the wake of his suggestion that the team’s bowlers were aware of the ball-tampering tactics.

The former Test opener was banned for nine months for his role in the incident, dubbed ‘Sandpaper-gate’, while then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were stripped of their leadership positions and suspended for a year.

A CA investigation at the time cleared the rest of the team and support staff of wrongdoing or knowledge of the plan to alter the condition of the ball, but Bancroft suggested that was not the case in interview with The Guardian on Friday.

“There was obviously a thorough investigation into that incident,” Ben Oliver, CA’s Executive General Manager of National Teams, told reporters on Monday.

“We’ve maintained all the way through that if anyone has any new information relating to that incident, that we encourage people to come forward and discuss that with Cricket Australia.

“Our integrity team have reached out to Cam ... to remind him if he does have any new information in addition to what his input was into the original investigation, there is an avenue for him to do that.”

Bancroft was caught on camera trying to tamper with the condition of the ball using sandpaper during Australia’s Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

He admitted he lied in a subsequent news conference, saying he had used sticky tape covered in dirt to change the ball’s condition. Smith later admitted the plan to use sandpaper had been hatched by the team’s leadership group.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” Bancroft told The Guardian, when asked if Australia’s bowlers were aware of what he was doing.

When pressed further to clarify if the bowlers knew, he replied: “Uh... yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”

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