Former ICC Elite Panel umpire Ian Gould has stated that the Australian cricketers had become ‘pretty average’ individuals two-three years before the infamous ball-tampering scandal. Gould was the TV official in the infamous Cape Town Test of 2018.
The 2018 Australian ball-tampering scandal, also known as the Sandpapergate, was a cricket scandal surrounding the Australia Cricket Team. In March 2018, during the third Test match against South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town, Cameron Bancroft was caught by tv cameras trying to rough up one side of the ball with sandpaper to make it swing.
Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were found to be involved, and all three received unprecedented sanctions from Cricket Australia. Tim Paine replaced Smith as Test captain and Aaron Finch as T20I and ODI captain.
Gould, who retired after last year’s World Cup, communicated what had been spotted on the TV, Cameron Bancroft putting sandpaper down his trousers, to the on-field umpires.
“If you look back on it now, Australia were out of control probably two years, maybe three years, before that, but not in this sense. Maybe behavioral, chatty, being pretty average people,” Gould informed the ‘Daily Telegraph’ while promoting his autobiography ‘Gunner – My Life in Cricket.’
“I didn’t realize what the repercussions would be,” Gould stated. “But when it came into my earpiece, I didn’t think the prime minister of Australia was going to come tumbling down on these three guys. All I thought was Jesus, how do I put this out to the guys on the field without making it an overreaction. It was a bit like on Mastermind when the light is on top of you, and you’re going – oh dear, how do I talk through this?” he added.
“When the director said, ‘He’s put something down the front of his trousers,’ I started giggling because that didn’t sound quite right. What’s come from it is for the betterment of Australian cricket – and cricket generally,” he observed.
“If you saw the balls, you would get it completely wrong. The sandpaper didn’t get on that ball. They were working on getting the ball to be pristine. Once they’d got one side bigger and shinier, that’s when the sandpaper was coming in,” Gould added.