Former Australian captain Michael Clarke says he won’t be surprised if it comes to light that the bowlers playing the Cape Town Test knew about the ball-tampering plot in 2018. The scandal had led to a review of Australia’s win-at-all-cost team culture and saw one-year bans being slapped on then captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and a nine-month suspension on Cameron Bancroft, who had the sandpaper in his possession.
The issue was put under the spotlight again when Bancroft last week revealed that Australian bowlers in the team at that time might have had some knowledge about the plot.
“If you are playing sport at the highest level you know your tools that good it’s not funny. Can you imagine that ball being thrown back to the bowler and the bowler not knowing about it? Please," Clarke told Sky Sports radio on Monday.
“I love how the articles in the paper are, ‘It is such a big surprise that Cameron Bancroft has made a …’ Actually, if you read his quotes, it is not what he did say as what he didn’t say in regards to other people knowing about ‘sandpapergate’," he said.
Following Bancroft’s interview, Cricket Australia also issued a statement saying that it was open to a re-investigation into the incident.
“What’s the surprise? That more than three people knew? I don’t think anybody who has played the game of cricket, or knows a little bit about cricket, would know that in a team like that, at the highest level, when the ball is such an important part of the game," Clarke said.
“I don’t think anybody is surprised that more than three people knew about it."
Former Australia bowling coach David Sekar, who was with the team during the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, on Sunday said it was a “monumental mistake" which could have been prevented and for which fingers can also be pointed at him.