Ricky Ponting Reveals the Reason Behind Sandpapergate Scandal

The second anniversary of the sandpapergate scandal is approaching and on this occasion, former Australian skipper has broken his silence and revealed the reason behind the fiasco. Speaking to a fundraising dinner of almost 500 guests for the Chappell Foundation at the SCG on Tuesday night, Ponting said that the scandal triggered out of leadership gulf which was missing a lot time before the decline in Australian cricket started taking shape.

The Real Story of Sandpapergate Scandal

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On 24 March 2018, after lunch on the third day of the third Test match, Australia’s Cameron Bancroft was shown on the television coverage and on screens at the ground appearing to rub the ball with a small yellow object. After Bancroft realised that he had been seen, he was again shown on the television coverage and on screens at the ground hiding the object in the front of his trousers. He was then approached by the umpires, and he showed them a dark microfibre sunglass pouch from his pocket.

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After the end of the day’s play in the post-match press-conference, then Australian skipper Steve Smith said that the sandpaper gate scandal was a decision of the “leadership group” which also included David Warner. Five days later, and after an investigation into the incident by Cricket Australia, he admitted it was sandpaper, which cricketers use to maintain their bats. Match referee Andy Pycroft charged Bancroft with level two offence in an attempt to alter the condition of the ball.

Dave Richardson, the ICC Chief charged Smith serious misconduct attempting to bringing the game into disrepute. Smith accepted all the charges thrown at him after which then Australian PM Malcom Turnbell who termed the incident as “a shocking disappointment” urged Cricket Australia to take strong action.

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Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland then in an official press conference on 25 March 2018 announced the quantum of bans on the three cricketers. While Bancroft was banned for nine months, Smith and Warner were banned for 12 months respectively from all forms of cricket due to their involvement in the sandpaper gate scandal.

Smith and Warner, who were considered two of the most inspirational figures in modern cricket, were at the receiving end of some strong hatred after their infamous involvement in the sandpaper gate scandal which rocked Australian cricket. Both were accused of disrespecting the game by fans and cricket experts alike. However, both made a return to cricket after serving their bans just ahead of the ICC 2019 World Cup last year. They also were a part of the Australian squad for the tournament.

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Revealing the reason behind the sandpaper gate scandal, Ponting said “I was a bit worried that with a lot of the experience going out of our team at the same time, that there would be a bit of a void left with experienced players to be able to say ‘no’ basically” highlighting the lack of experienced players in the side during Australian cricket’s tumultuous era.

“If I look at where things got at Cape Town I just don’t think there were enough people around that team to say ‘no’ to some of those guys. Things got completely out of control. That’s very much an outsider’s view on it. I had nothing to do with the team really until the last couple of years around some Twenty20 cricket and the World Cup last year” he added.

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With Australia set to play against South Africa for the first time since the sandpaper gate scandal, both Warner and Smith are expecting a hostile reception from the Protean fans.

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