Were Australian bowlers aware about ball-tampering? Bancroft drops a hint
Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft, who was one of the central figures in the controversial ball-tampering incident at Newlands, has indicated that others, apart from Steve Smith and David Warner, were also aware of the same. Speaking to The Guardian, Bancroft admitted that it is "self-explanatory" that bowlers in the team had to know about the condition of the ball. Here are further details.
"All I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part. What I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that is self-explanatory," Bancroft said. "I guess one thing I learned 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."
The infamous ball-tampering incident came to light in the 2018 Newlands Test between South Africa and Australia. Bancroft was caught on camera rubbing the ball with a piece of sandpaper in South Africa's second innings. In the aftermath, Bancroft, along with then-skipper Smith and vice-captain Warner faced heavy suspensions. Meanwhile, head coach Daren Lehman announced his resignation soon after.
The controversy caused an uproar as Smith revealed that the leadership group knew about the matter beforehand. While Smith and Warner were slapped with a one-year ban, Bancroft was suspended for nine months. In addition to it, Smith was barred from captaincy for two years, and Warner was banned from holding any leadership position for life. However, the rest of the players were cleared.
In the Newlands Test, Australia's bowling group comprised of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh, and Nathan Lyon. It was reported that the group was furious at the time after being implicated in the entire episode.
Recently, Cricket Australia clarified that it was still open to hearing and investigating any new information about the Newlands incident. "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," a CA spokesman said.
Marquee players Smith and Warner staged a successful return to the team across formats. The former even remains in contention for the leadership role. However, Bancroft has now lost his spot, having played the first two Tests of the 2019 Ashes series. Notably, he had started to cement his spot as the team's opener at the time of the ball-tampering incident.