Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has slammed Cricket Australia for their “piecemeal investigation” of the 2018 Sandpaper gate scandal as the controversy has re-erupted and rocked Australian cricket once again.

Cameron Bancroft, who was guilty of scuffing the ball with sandpaper in Cape Town, has recently said that it was “self-explanatory” that the bowlers had to know the ball had been tampered with. An uproar amongst all quarters followed Bancroft’s comments.

In a reaction to this, the 4 Aussie bowlers in that Test – Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon – put out a statement saying that they did not know anything about “a foreign substance being taken onto the field of play to alter the condition of the ball” in that particular Test which saw Bancroft get a nine-month ban, and a year ban each for Steve Smith and David Warner.

Cameron Bancroft, Australia
Cameron Bancroft [Image-Getty]
Despite the bowlers’ statement, Michael Vaughan is not entirely convinced that they didn’t know or weren’t aware of the wrongdoings of Bancroft – or someone – on the ball. However, Michael Vaughan, an Ashes-winning skipper himself, understands not many players would like to go against their captain.

“Not many former professionals I have spoken to believe something like that would be confined to just three people. There might be some in a dressing room who may not like it and disagree with a course of action, but say nothing because they do not want to go against the captain. I can see how that happens,” Michael Vaughan wrote in his column for Sydney Morning Herald.

You cannot ban players retrospectively: Michael Vaughan

The 46-year-old slams Cricket Australia for leaving “questions unanswered” and for improper investigation. He feels the board’s reputation was heavily tarnished and hence they were quick to hand out “too severe” bans to the trio and expected everyone to forget it and move on.

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)

After Bancroft’s comments, Cricket Australia had tried to make a contact with him – the batsman is in England playing County Championship – to ask if he would want to provide any further information.

However, Michael Vaughan opines that the board now cannot punish any more players – the bowlers in more concern here – three years after the incident for which they have earlier concluded their investigation.

“Ultimately, this shows what happens if you do a piecemeal investigation and leave questions unanswered. It will keep biting you on the backside and does not do anyone any good.

“Cricket Australia probably felt it looked into it properly and hoped everyone would move on. A lot of damage was done to Australian cricket’s reputation and to those involved. I felt at the time the bans were too severe, and I can see why Cricket Australia would not want to go back over it. You cannot ban players retrospectively,” the Englishman concluded.

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