Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft has finally revealed some shocking factors about the infamous 'Sandpaper Gate', three years after the controversial incident took place at Newlands, Cape Town in 2018. It was the third Test between Australia and South Africa where Bancroft was caught by the cameras while he was illegally trying to rough up one side of the ball using sandpaper.
After the coach Darren Lehmann spotted the events on TV, 12th man Peter Handscomb was asked to inform Bancroft about the same who tried to cover up the scene as he tried to hide the sandpaper under his pants but everything had already been caught by the camera. It was later revealed that Steve Smith and David Warner were also aware of the plan as they admitted to the wrongdoing in a press conference after the end of the day's play.
Watch the incident here:
Bancroft opens up on the 'Sandpaper Gate'
In a conversation with the Guardian interviewer Donald McRae in Durham, Bancroft reflected on the incident and said, "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. I guess one thing I learnt through the journey and being responsible is that's where the buck stops (on himself). Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision."
However, the 28-year-old made a surprise revelation that has shocked the whole cricketing world. Bancroft confirmed that apart from him, Smith and Warner, even the bowlers were aware of the use of the sandpaper. On being asked if the bowlers knew about the same, he said, "Uh… yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it's pretty probably self-explanatory."
The Aussie admitted that it was a big mistake and was something that he didn't understand until that mistake happened. Bancroft said, "I invested too much to the point where I lost control of my values. What had become important to me was being liked, being well valued, feeling really important to my teammates, like I was contributing something by using sandpaper on a cricket ball." He added that it was a part of his journey and a hard lesson that he needed to learn.
Will there be any further investigation now?
Notably, all the three cricketers involved in the incident were given strict punishment for their actions. While Bancroft received a nine-month ban, Warner and Smith were banned for one year each with the former also banned from holding any leadership position for a lifetime. Meanwhile, Lehmann, who was also under the radar, resigned from his position as a head coach.
However, Cricket Australia has confirmed that they are open to investigating the matter further if there is any new information presented on the incident. While Bancroft has revealed that the bowlers were also aware of the usage of sandpaper, it will be very interesting to see if Cricket Australia actually open up the case and question the bowlers that featured in the Test. Notably, Aussie's star bowlers - Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon were part of that match.