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Cameron Bancroft drops ‘sandpapergate’ bombshell, says Aussie teammates KNEW he was going to cheat

The international cricket scandal that engulfed Australian cricket and saw three players banned has been reignited by new bombshell claims.

Cameron Bancroft, banned for nine months after he followed David Warner’s instructions to scuff the ball using sandpaper against South Africa in 2018, dropped some of his former teammates in hot water in an English interview on Saturday. 

Bancroft appeared to suggest the Australian bowlers knew that ‘sandpapergate’, as the scandal was dubbed, was ‘on’ before it happened.

All other players on the team denied knowledge of the plan in the aftermath of the scandal, and have maintained since that they didn’t know.

Then vice-captain David Warner, former captain Steve Smith (pictured right) and Cameron Bancroft (pictured left) were all banned for their roles in the ‘sandpapergate’ controversy in 2018. No other players were penalised, but in a new interview Bancroft appeared to indicate the bowlers knew of the plan to cheat – an allegation the bowlers have consistently denied

Bancroft (pictured) was caught applying sandpaper to the ball to try to induce reverse swing during the third Test against South Africa in 2018

Bancroft (pictured) was caught applying sandpaper to the ball to try to induce reverse swing during the third Test against South Africa in 2018

‘Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,’ Bancroft told The Guardian.

Cummins took seven wickets in the match, although Australia lost the third test heavily – and went on to meekly surrender the series 3-1. 

When he was pushed to clarify, Bancroft repeated that ‘I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.’ 

Cricket Australia’s formal review, conducted by former high-performance boss Pat Howard and former head of integrity Iain Roy, cleared everybody else in the touring party of any wrongdoing or knowledge of the illegal plot. 

In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, CA said no new evidence had been presented to it.

‘CA has maintained all along that if anyone is in possession of new information in regards to the Cape Town Test of 2018 they should come forward and present it,’ the statement read.

‘The investigation conducted at the time was detailed and comprehensive. Since then, no one has presented new information to CA that casts doubt on the investigation’s findings.’

Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc (back row, left to right) have all denied knowledge of Australia's plan to cheat in 2018. David Warner (front left) was considered the instigator and banned. Michael Clarke (front right) was not involved

Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc (back row, left to right) have all denied knowledge of Australia’s plan to cheat in 2018. David Warner (front left) was considered the instigator and banned. Michael Clarke (front right) was not involved 

Star bowlers of the Australian national team, Nathan Lyon (pictured with his girlfriend, Emmal McCarthy  )Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins threatened to boycott the final Test in South Africa last year

A report detailed the Australian team's mood after the scandal and speculated on the threats made by the four bowlers (Mitchell Starc pictured with his wife, Alyssa Healy).

Star bowlers of the Australian national team, Nathan Lyon (pictured left with his girlfriend, Emmal McCarthy), Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc (pictured right with his wife, Alyssa Healy) threatened to boycott the final Test in South Africa last year. They have consistently denied knowledge of any plan to cheat

Warner was also banned, for 12 months, and forbidden from holding a leadership position ever again.

Australian captain Steve Smith was banned for 12 months, and claimed senior bowlers did not know of the plan to cheat.

He later broke down in tears at an unforgettable press conference on his return to Sydney. 

Both Smith and Warner were also banned from the 2018 Indian Premier League season, costing each millions of dollars.

Australian coach Darren Lehman was cleared by a subsequent investigation of any wrongdoing or involvement and refused to resign, although he did soon after.

Several of the players Bancroft appears to have now outed previously denied knowledge – or at least never owned up to knowing.

They also continued to reap millions of dollars from playing in the IPL, on their Australian contracts, and from sponsorship deals, while the suspended players shouldered responsibility.

According to 2019 reports, Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon were all set to refuse to play the final Test if David Warner wasn’t banned for his role, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. 

Steve Smith (pictured, at a press conference following the 2018 Sandpaper Gate) - along with teammates Cameron Bancroft and David Warner - were punished with temporary bans for their involvement in the 2018 ball tampering scandal in South Africa

Steve Smith (pictured, at a press conference following the 2018 Sandpaper Gate) – along with teammates Cameron Bancroft and David Warner – were punished with temporary bans for their involvement in the 2018 ball tampering scandal in South Africa

A then-tearful Warner (pictured) and Smith completed their one-year ban and played for the Australian cricket team.

A then-tearful Warner (pictured) and Smith completed their one-year ban and played for the Australian cricket team. 

Cummins said he felt ‘sick in his stomach’ watching footage of Bancroft tampering with the ball on the big screen at the time, adding that he thought ‘oh no, what’s going on here?’

Starc said he was disappointed that Smith and Warner ‘went down the path of not telling the whole truth’, affecting others’ reputations.

Hazlewood too denied knowing anything, speaking on Fox Sport at the time.

‘We obviously have ball maintenance people in the team, usually batsmen because they are in the circle and the bowlers field at fine leg,’ he explained.

‘They look after the ball from time to time and if it stops swinging, normally it starts to reverse swing.

‘We pretty much get it at the top of our mark one second before we start running in. We have a quick look to see which side of the ball is more worn than the other.’ 

SANDPAPER-GATE TIMELINE 

March 2018: 

Australia will play four Test matches against South Africa.

March 24, 2018

On the third day, Cameron Bancroft was shown on television rubbing the ball against sandpaper on the front of his trousers.

At a press conference after the game, Bancroft and Australia’s captain, Steve Smith admitted that they had altered the condition of the ball knew of the plan.

Smith said he would not be standing down as captain .

March 25: 

Smith and vice-captain, David Warner, relinquished their roles for the remainder of the Test.  

International Cricket Council announces that Bancroft is free to continue playing while Smith had been suspended for the fourth Test.

March 27: 

Smith. Bancroft and Warner are all sent home from the South Africa tour.

March 28:

Cricket Australia ban Smith and Warner for one-year from international and domestic critic.

Bancroft is suspended for nine months.

March 29:

Smith breaks down in tears while addressing the media upon returning to Sydney.

Head coach, Darren Lehmann, confirms hi will resign after the fourth Test.

March 31:

Warner broke down in tears while speaking at a news conference in Sydney. 

December 26: 

Bancroft suggests that the plan to tamper the ball was Warner’s idea.

December 30: 

Bancroft returns from his ban.

March 29, 2019: 

Warner and Smith’s one-year bans are finished.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk