Former Australia captain Michael Clarke remains adamant on his belief that the Australian bowlers – Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon – in the 2018 Cape Town Test versus South Africa, famous for the Sandpaper fiasco, had to be aware that the ball was being tampered with.
Cameron Bancroft, who used the Sandpaper to scuff the ball, and David Saker, Australia’s bowling coach at that time, indicated that more than just the banned trio – Bancroft himself along with Steve Smith, and David Warner – had the knowledge of the wrongdoings.
In a reaction to their allegations and the outburst from all quarters, the 4 bowlers concerned put out a statement 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, and realized it only “until we saw the images on the big screen at Newlands.”
The bowlers urged everyone to put “an end to the rumour-mongering and innuendo” as “it has gone on too long and it is time to move on.”
They probably left two people out: Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke points out that the statement was intended towards the people who have questioned the bowlers’ integrity – Michael Clarke himself, Adam Gilchrist, Stuart Broad, amongst players and other reputed journalists – but left out both Bancroft and Saker, both of whose comments have reignited the talks of the event that took place three years ago.
“I knew when I made my comments about what Cameron Bancroft’s quotes were it was more than likely going to offend certain people. It certainly was not done personally from my perspective, particularly with the four bowlers concerned, I’m good friends with all of them,” Michael Clarke was quoted by news18.com as saying.
“I think there have been a number of people, past players, journalists who have made comments based on what Cameron Bancroft said and then what David Saker, the bowling coach, as well had said. I think that is what’s really important after seeing the joint statement.
“The one thing that stands out for mine in that statement [is] they forgot how this conversation was brought up. It was comments from a teammate Cameron Bancroft who was involved in the situation and then quotes from David Saker who was the bowling coach at the time. After journalists and past players like myself, Adam Gilchrist and Stuart Broad, a current player, had seen what was said and written, a lot of people have made comments,” he added.
“I think those guys and Cricket Australia need to remember how this conversation has been brought up so in their statement they should have added where it says: ‘We pride ourselves on our honesty. So it’s been disappointing to see that our integrity has been questioned by some journalists and past players’ — you probably should have put current teammate who was there at the time and did the crime and bowling coach who was there too. You probably left two people out.
“This statement is very smartly worded and written so I’m not going to sit here and continue to talk about every word in that statement. I’ve said what I’ve said. It certainly was not personal towards them. I said what I said because that’s what I believe,” the 2015 World Cup-winning skipper concluded.