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Australian bowlers knew about Sandpapergate, alleges Fanie de Villiers

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Fanie de Villiers, the commentator during the 2018 Cape Town Test,  has alleged that it was ‘impossible’ for the Australian attack to not know what was being done with the ball.

Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon had issued a statement on Tuesday saying that they were unaware that sandpaper was brought onto the field to change the state of the ball until it was shown on the big screen at Newlands.

“It’s absolutely impossible for bowlers not to know what’s going on the ball, because you are the person that scrutinises it, you are the person that’s looking at it, you are the person that’s cleaning it, you are the person that knows exactly that one side looks this way because of looking after and the other side doesn’t look a specific way because of the grass on the wicket. So it’s absolutely nonsense,” de Villiers, who is also a former Proteas quick, told The Indian Express.

De Villiers has claimed earlier that it was he who alerted the broadcast crew that Cameron Bancroft was rubbing the ball with a piece of yellow tape. He was of the opinion that it wasn’t only Bancroft, David Warner and Steve Smith (the three banned players) who were in the know about what was going on.

“I think from the start it was obvious that they knew, and from the start, the Australian system didn’t handle it properly. They should have handled it differently, and they tried to cover everything by just making two [actually, three] people the culprits. It was a combined effort… The coach knew; everybody knows in a system, because you don’t hide these things in the team firstly, and secondly, it’s impossible for a bowler not to know because he can see the difference.”

Cricket Australia has maintained that anyone with additional information about the incident should get in touch with the board. However, de Villiers felt that the matter should not be reopened. 

“I think they (the Australia bowlers) have been advised to say what they said, just to take as much of the pressure away from the situation. I don’t think it should be dragged open. I think people did get a warning, everybody around the world got a proper warning through this, and it’s done and dusted. I don’t think it should be opened up again. I don’t think it’s fair on the players.”

Featured image : AFP / Patrick Hamilton

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