The infamous ‘sandpapergate’ ball tampering controversy erupted five years ago today. Australian Cameron Bancroft He was caught on camera cheating.
The opening batsman was on the field during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town when he was filmed rubbing the ball with unusual pressure and then hiding a yellow object under his pants.
No doubt he was trying to change the surface of the ball, and the anger he ignited was sudden and immense, reaching far beyond cricket with the Australian Prime Minister. malcolm turnbull leading the condemnation.
Bancroft was blamed by the match referee at the end of the day, but it soon became clear that he was not acting alone.
Captain Steve Smith a ball was accepted into the tamper plan and he, along with the vice-captain, David Warner and Bancroft was sent home in disgrace as Cricket Australia launched a swift investigation.
All three players had tearful press conferences when it turned out that the object they were using to bat the ball was sandpaper, not a piece of dust-covered tape from the field as originally claimed.
The event was front-page news in Australia, saying the players’ behavior was “a shocking disappointment” and a “terrible disgrace”.
Also seeing the issue as a national embarrassment, CA banned all three players for 12 months and banned Smith and Bancroft from holding leadership positions for at least two years.
Described as the ringleader, Warner was told he would never again be considered for a leadership role.
Smith and Warner successfully reintegrated into the team after their suspensions ended, but Bancroft has not been selected since returning for two Tests in 2019.