Cricket Australia is set to reopen investigations into the ‘Sandpaper Gate’ scandal of 2018 if there is anyone who has more knowledge about the matter.
The announcement came after opening batsman Cameron Bancroft hinted that there had to be wider knowledge about ball-tampering during the incident in the Cape Town Test between Australia and South Africa than just the trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and the opener himself.
“CA has maintained all along that if anyone is in possession of new information in regards to the Cape Town Test of 2018, they should come forward and present it. The investigation conducted at the time was detailed and comprehensive. Since then, no one has presented new information to CA that casts doubt on the investigation’s findings,” a spokesman for CA said on Saturday.
In March 2018, Bancroft was caught on camera trying to change the condition of the ball using sandpaper in a Test match against South Africa in Cape Town. The incident later went on to be labelled as the ‘Sandpaper Gate’ and is considered as one of the darkest moments in the history of Australian cricket.
Bancroft, who is playing county cricket in Durham, said it was “probably self-explanatory” whether the bowlers were aware that the ball was being tampered with.
“Yeah, look, all I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part. Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” Bancroft told The Guardian in England where he is due to play county cricket for Durham. “I guess one thing I learnt through the journey and being responsible is that’s where the buck stops. Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision.”
When asked about further knowledge among the team, Bancroft replied: “Uh… yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”
On the third day of the match, Bancroft was caught on camera trying to alter the condition of the ball. As soon as the clip was shown on television, it went viral on social media and the entire cricketing fraternity condemned the act.
After the conclusion of the day’s play, Bancroft and then Australia skipper Steve Smith admitted that they did tamper with the ball.
David Warner’s involvement in the act was also confirmed. Australia went on to lose the match and Cricket Australia took some bold calls as they first removed Smith and Warner as the captain and vice-captain of the side. Later, the Australian cricket board handed a one-year ban to both Smith and Warner, while Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension. Australia coach Darren Lehmann also resigned after the episode.