Adam Gilchrist, the legendary wicketkeeper-batsman, has accused Cricket Australia (CA) of not properly investigating the whole 2018 Cape Town ball-tampering incident and said the board didn’t dwell deeper into the issue.
With the remark from Cameron Bancroft bringing the Sandpaper Gate back into discussions, Gilchrist said CA missed a genuine opportunity to resolve what he believes is also a “systematic” problem.
In an interview with the Guardian, Bancroft said it’s “self-explanatory” that Australia’s bowling attack, comprising in Cape Town of big names such as Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, was also aware of their team’s illegal tactics.
It is something Adam Gilchrist concurs with, as he was quoted saying on SEN Radio, “There was an opportunity for CA if they were going to make such a strong statement they needed to do a more thorough investigation to work out where the root of the problem was.”
“Anyone would be naive to think people were not aware with what was going on about ball maintenance. I don’t think Cricket Australia wanted to go there. They did not want to go any deeper than that superficial example of ball-tampering,” he added.
Adam Gilchrist says CA didn’t thoroughly investigate the ball-tampering incident
Bancroft’s comments didn’t just bring the ball-tampering fiasco back in the spotlight but also potentially blew a lid off CA’s script around the incident. Following its investigation, the board had said publicly that vice-captain Warner had told Bancroft to rub sandpaper on the ball with Smith doing nothing to stop that from happening.
CA, then, banned Smith and Warner from representing Australia for a year and suspended Bancroft for a period of nine months. Warner was also banned from donning the captaincy hat for life, while Smith barred from doing so for 2 years. But there was no mention of any of the bowlers involved in the on-field action, which was for long a cause of doubts on CA’s probe.
Adam Gilchrist said ball-tampering had been prevalent in world cricket for long, but CA, on its part, did not bother to take corrective measures to stop that.
“They (CA) did not investigate to see whether it was systemic, had that been going on and on and on. Around the cricketing globe it was widely accepted a lot of teams were doing it,” Gilchrist said.
“You haven’t seen any reverse swing since that incident as a general statement across world cricket. Very minimal reverse swing.”
“The positive that has come out with that punishment is it seems to have been eradicated from the game because it was getting out of control around the entire cricket world, not just the Australian cricket team,” Adam Gilchrist added.
“They (CA) did not want to go any deeper than that superficial example of ball-tampering.”
CA did mention, though, following Bancroft’s remarks that it is willing to re-open investigation in the matter, which would put the likes of Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc under scanner in a year where Australia are scheduled to host England for the Ashes.