Sandpaper Gate was badly handled, it was a joke: David Warner's manager opens up on ball-tampering scandal

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: May 17, 2021, 03:22 PM(IST)

File photo of Steve Smith and David Warner (L). Photograph:( Reuters )

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The infamous Sandpaper Gate has again become the talk of the cricketing world since the fresh revelations by Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft who suggested that bowlers were aware of the ball-tampering episode. Now, David Warner’s manager James Erskine has opened up on the investigation process while slamming Cricket Australia for handling the matter badly.

The infamous Sandpaper Gate has again become the talk of the cricketing world since the fresh revelations by Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft who suggested that bowlers were aware of the ball-tampering episode. Now, David Warner’s manager James Erskine has opened up on the investigation process while slamming Cricket Australia for handling the matter badly.

Erskine has revealed that the investigation was completed without even interrogating all the players while saying that the whole truth will come out while claiming he knows everything about the episode.  

"The report that was done, they didn't interview all the players. The whole thing was so badly handled, it was a joke. But eventually, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, will come out and I know the whole truth. But it doesn't serve any purpose because the Australian public over a period of time got to dislike the Australian team because they didn't behave particularly well," Erskine told Sydney Morning Herald.

Erskine accepted that what Steve Smith, David Warner and Bancroft did was wrong but the punishment didn’t fit the crime, hinting that the 12-month ban for Smith and Warner, and nine-month suspension of Bancroft was harsh.

ALSO READ: Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist react to Cameron Bancroft's ball-tampering remarks

"There is absolutely no doubt that Smith, Warner and Bancroft were treated despicably. The fact of the matter is they did the wrong thing but the punishment didn't fit the crime. I think if one or two of those players had taken legal action they would have won because of what the truth was," he added.

During the Newlands Test against South Africa in March 2018, Bancroft was caught on the camera trying to alter the condition of the ball using a sandpaper gate. He was spotted slipping the sandpaper inside his trousers when made aware by one of his teammates. The whole episode is regarded as one of the lowest points 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. 

ALSO READ: Cricket Australia reaches out to Cameron Bancroft after revelation on ball-tampering issue

"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 said to the Guardian interviewer Donald McRae as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

"I guess one thing I learned through the journey and being responsible is that's where the buck stops [with Bancroft himself]. Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision," he added.

When he was further stressed, 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.

On Monday, WION learned that Cricket Australia’s Integrity Team has reached out to Bancroft following his latest statement on the ball-tampering scandal. However, the Aussie batter is yet to respond given the time-gap between the two countries.

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