The 2018 'Sandpaper Gate' fiasco has once again come to the limelight after Cameron Bancroft hinted that the Australian bowlers were aware of the fact that the ball was being tampered with. In an interview with to a media organization, the Aussie batsman had claimed that it was 'self-explanatory' when he was asked if the bowlers had prior knowledge about the same. Following that, Cricket Australia also claimed that they would reopen the investigation if there is any new information on the case.
Aussie bowlers came under scrutiny
As soon as Bancroft's statement got viral, Aussie bowlers - Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon - came under the scrutiny for their alleged involvement in the whole controversy. Former cricketers like Michael Vaughan, Aakash Chopra and Andrew Flintoff also claimed that there was no doubt that bowlers were aware of the ball being tampered with. With the star quartet receiving so much flak, they have now come up and released an official statement to end this controversy.
Statement from Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon
In a statement directed to Australian public, the quartet states that it is disappointing for them to see that their integrity has been questioned by some former players and journalists in recent days in regard to the Cape Town Test in 2018. The Aussie bowlers confirmed again that they did not know a foreign substance was taken onto the field to alter the condition of the ball until they saw the images on the big screen at Newlands.
They also presented a few facts in front of everyone which actually proves their innocence. The key allegation against the bowlers was that they would have known while bowling that the ball had been tampered because of the damage. In reply to those allegations, they stated, "The umpires during that Test match, Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth, both very respected and experienced umpires, inspected the ball after the images surfaced on the TV coverage and did not change it because there was no sign of damage."
While they accepted the fact that what happened that day was wrong and should have never happened, they stated that valuable lessons were learnt from the incident but now they want this to end for once and for all.
No new evidence from Bancroft
CA's Integrity Team had reached out to Cameron Bancroft on Monday following his statement. However, CA's interim CEO, Nick Hockley, confirmed on Tuesday that Bancroft has no new evidence to present. "Our integrity unit reached out to Cam off the back of the media report and asked him directly whether he had any new information since the original investigation, and he's come back and confirmed overnight that he has no new information. So we thank Cam for confirming that," Hockley told cricket.com.au. Hence, it can be implied now that the whole 'Sandpaper Gate' controversy will finally come to an end.
Watch the video here: