When it comes to shocking moments, cricket has had its fair share over the years. While many play the game in the right manner, there will always be those who are happy to bring the game into disrepute all for a bit of extra money. Yeah, we know, it is not like they do not get enough as it is! We are now going to take a look at one of the most shocking events to happen in recent cricket history and it is known as Sandpapergate.
Australia in South Africa 2018
Between February and April of 2018, Australia were in South Africa to play four Test games – this was actually the first four-Test match series between the two sides since South Africa’s readmission, so it was meant to be a joyous occasion. However, it was marred by what the Aussies were caught doing.
In the third Test of the series at Cape Town, with the score at 1-1, Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera trying to rough up one side of the cricket ball with some unknown material in order for it to reverse swing. For those who are new to cricket, reverse swing is when the ball starts swinging the opposite way to what it is supposed to. with conventional swing, the ball will move away from the shiny side, but with reverse swing it moves towards the shiny side and is much harder to play. He quickly realised that he had been seen on one of the many cameras and quickly hid the offending object in his pocket.
At a press conference later that same day, Bancroft, who was accompanied by Steve Smith, the Australian captain, admitted that he was trying to alter the condition of the cricket ball using some adhesive tape with dirt and grit stuck it to form an abrasive surface that would scruff up the ball and help with some reverse swing. Just five days later, after an investigation by Cricket Australia, he changed his story and admitted that he was using some sandpaper that batsmen use to maintain their cricket bats. Shockingly, Smith went on to admit that he knew about this tactic because the leadership group had discussed it at lunch time.
Cricket Australia Investigation and Subsequent Punishments
Cricket Australia launched their own investigation into this shocking attempt at cheating and Bancroft, Smith, and David Warner were all sanctioned for bringing the game into major disrepute. Below are the punishments that were handed out to each individual:
Warner: Received a one-year ban from all domestic and international cricket and will never be allowed to captain Australia ever again.
Smith: Received a one-year ban from all domestic and international cricket and had to serve a subsequent one-year ban from captaining Australia. While that ban is now over, it is highly unlikely that he will be chosen to captain his national team in any format ever again.
Bancroft: Receive a nine-month suspension from domestic and international cricket and, like Smith, he had to serve a subsequent 12-month leadership ban. However, also like Smith, it is highly unlikely that he will ever be considered for a leadership role by Cricket Australia.
It Will Be a Long Time Before This is Forgotten
There were many players in the cricketing world as well as plenty of fans and cricket betting enthusiasts who felt that these three Australia players got off pretty lightly to say the least. Many probably would have felt that a lifetime ban would have been the appropriate punishment, and this is something that we find hard to disagree with.
Although it is three years ago now, these three players cannot play cricket anywhere without the fans in attendance reminding them about it. In the last Ashes series in England, they had to put up with England fans waving pieces of sandpaper about in the crowd. The Aussies have never been a much-loved cricket nation, and this dented their reputation even more. The players involved have worked hard to try and earn some respect back, but they will never be fully respected ever again.