Australian bowlers Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood (Photo by Mark Metcalfe - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)
Australian bowlers Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood (Photo by Mark Metcalfe - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

Former South African seamer Fanie de Villiers has dismissed the claims made by the Australian bowlers that they didn’t have any information about the ball-tampering plot, a response that was prompted by Cameron Bancroft’s stunning revelations to an English tabloid last week.

During an interview with The Daily Guardian, Bancroft had indicated that the bowling group was aware of the plan. Following the revelations, Cricket Australia sprung into action as it released a statement where the governing body that it is ready to reopen the case, should they get any more information regarding the same.

On Tuesday, the Australian bowling group released a joint statement where they once again absolve themselves from the scandal.

Fannie de Villiers, Cameron Bancroft, Australia,
Australia. (Credits: Twitter)

”We did not know a foreign substance was taken onto the field to alter the condition of the ball until we saw the images on the big screen at Newlands,” said the statement, as put out by

Former Proteas cricketer Fanie de Villiers, who was commentating for the host broadcaster during that fateful Test, is, however, having none of that as he claims to have seen first-hand what unfolded that day.

In an interview with the Indian Express, Fanie De Villiers claimed that he was the one who alerted the TV crew who eventually caught Cameron Bancroft applying sandpaper on the ball.

“It’s absolutely impossible for bowlers not to know what’s going on the ball, because you are the person that scrutinizes 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 (the ball) and the other side doesn’t look a specific way because of the grass on the wicket. So it’s absolutely nonsense,” said Fanie de Villiers.

Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith
Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)

The former South African cricketer further added that the entire Australian team and the coaching staff knew about the incident and, according to him, Cricket Australia tried to cover everything by making three people the culprits

”I think from start it was obvious that they knew, and from 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 (three actually) 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.” said Fanie de Villiers.

When asked what prompted him to alert the TV crew, De Villiers said-

“The ball reverses early because of the (barren) wicket. If the wicket has got grass on, the ball reverses late; in the 40th-50th over, if at all. So the scuffing of the ball – it was a grassy pitch – and you don’t get the ball reversing after 20-odd overs. It doesn’t happen in South Africa. That prompted me (to alert the TV cameramen),” de Villiers explained.

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Yash Mittal

Just a student of this beautiful game called cricket. Writer. Storyteller.