Former Australia bowling coach David Saker who was in-charge of the role during the infamous Sandpaper Gate has said that the finger-pointing is bound to continue irrespective of whether the investigation into the scandal is reopened or not.
The former Victorian and Tasmanian pacer further stated that the footprints of this debacle would haunt the country for decades, just like it did with Trevor Chappell’s underarm ball versus New Zealand 40 years ago.
The toned-down incident found life once again after Cameron Bancroft, the man who actually carried sandpaper in the 2018 Newlands Test against South Africa, hinted in a press conference on his return to English country Durham, that the Australian bowlers may have been aware of the larger plot. The talks started gaining momentum after Bancroft on being asked whether the bowlers were aware of the ball-tampering in advance, in an interview with The Guardian, said, “Uh … yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”
The bowling attack then consisted of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon.
Saker left his post in 2019 and has been on an assignment with Sri Lanka’s national team since then.
In response to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday, Saker said, “Obviously a lot of things went wrong at that time. The finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on.” He added, “Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest ... He’s not going to be the last. You could point your finger at me, you could point your finger at Boof [then coach Darren Lehmann], could you point it at other people, of course you could.”
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia (CA) following Bancroft’s remarks issued a statement expressing the willingness to open a fresh investigation into the incident that rocked Australian cricket and drew inexpressible ire from the fans.
“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,” CA said.
Saker has encouraged the idea of CA reopening the investigation but was not sure if it would serve the purpose.
He said, “I don’t think it’d be unfair. I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”
Cameron Bancroft’s statement might also affect Steve Smith’s chances of becoming Australia cricket team captain again. While Steve Smith has made a successful return in all the formats post his ban and has also declared his keenness for a possible captaincy stint, the timing of Bancroft’s comments is precarious. The sentiment around Smith regaining captaincy grew a bit after current Test captain Tim Paine endorsed him as his successor last week.
Featured photo : AFP / Punit Paranjpe