Former ICC Elite Panel umpire Ian Gould, who was the TV official in the infamous Cape Town Test of 2018, said that the Australian team were ‘out of control’ and ‘pretty average people’ for some time well before the ‘Sandpaper-gate’ scandal broke and that whatever came out of it has been good for Australia. He said he could not believe what he was seeing on his cameras as Cameron Bancroft was caught tampering the ball with a piece of sandpaper which he had kept inside his trousers.
Gould, who retired after last year’s World Cup, told the Daily Telegraph while promoting his autobiography Gunner – My Life in Cricket, “I didn’t realise what the repercussions would be. 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 – behavioural, chatty, being pretty average people.”
“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?
“When the director said, ‘He’s put something down the front of his trousers,’ I started giggling, because that didn’t sound quite right. Obviously, what’s come from it is for the betterment of Australian cricket – and cricket generally.”
Ball-tampering was classed as a level two offence under the ICC Code of Conduct, but it has since been elevated to a level three category, which carries a ban of up to six Tests or 12 ODIs.