Australian Batsman Peter Handscomb has broken his silence about the role he played in the ball-tampering episode at Cape Town earlier this year that led to bans for then Australian captain Steve Smith, David Warner, & Cameron Bancroft and the resignation of coach Darren Lehmann.
Going by the way the sequence of events was presented, it seemed that Handscomb, who was not in the playing XI for the game, spoke on a walkie-talkie to Lehmann who was inside the pavilion and then conveyed instructions to Bancroft. The opener then proceeded to quickly hide the piece of sandpaper in his trousers.
Handscomb threw light on the sequence of events in a bit more detail, saying that half an hour had passed between his conversation with Lehmann before he spoke to Bancroft, when he came on as a substitute for a brief period.
"I love that footage because it's actually amazing how much the media edited it,” he said. “So, it shows me on the walkie-talkie then running out and talking to Cam. What happened, I am on the walkie-talkie. Twenty minutes, 25 minutes later, a player comes off because they need to go to the bathroom. I am next to it so that's why I come on.
"I get put into a catching position next to Cam because we are both short catches ... we are front of the wicket catchers or in slips together. That's why I was there, literally just trying to have a joke with him. There was nothing else. All this build-up about me trying to do something there, it wasn't there."
Handscomb though did confirm that Lehmann asked him what was going on in the middle, before repeating his question at tea time in much more stronger words.
"Pretty much. It's been quite well-documented. Basically, I am just trying to move forward," Handscomb said. "I haven't been dragged into it [the scandal] that much. If I was, I am basically off a lot of social media now anyway. I didn't read it and I didn't hear it."
With Smith, Warner and Bancroft out of contention, Handscomb did return to the playing XI, though he failed in both innings of the final Test at Johannesburg, falling for 0 & 24.
"It was a bit of a shame to come back into the Test side under those circumstances - I had really wanted to get back in through sheer work and put numbers on the board and make sure I was doing all the right things," he said. "Sometimes it's right place, right time, and I have to try and take that opportunity."