There were more people involved in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal than just David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, Warner’s manager said yesterday as the second Test against the West Indies began.
James Erskine told Australian radio that opener Warner had “protected” his teammates on his advice after “sandpaper-gate” erupted in South Africa in March 2018.
Warner was adjudged to have played the leading role in the scandal, and was banned from elite cricket for a year and from leadership positions for life.
Smith was also banned for a year and from leadership positions for three years, while former Test batsman Bancroft was given a one-year ban from leadership positions on top of a nine-month playing suspension.
Erskine told SEN radio there was more to the story.
“The truth will come out,” he said. “There’s lots of people... There’s two cricketers at the time that said: ‘Why don’t we just put our hands up and tell the truth, they can’t fire all of us.’”
“That’s what’s happened,” he said.
“They all got a caning and basically David Warner was completely villainized,” Erskine said, adding that he had told Warner to keep quiet so that everyone could move on from the scandal.
Warner “has shut up, he has protected Cricket Australia, he has protected his fellow players on my advice, because at the end of the day no one wanted to hear any more of it and he’s got on playing cricket,” Erskine said.
Cricket Australia declined to comment.
The fresh allegations about Newlands overshadowed day one of the second Test against the West Indies at the Adelaide Oval, where Smith was captaining the team in regular skipper Pat Cummins’ absence, but fell for a first-innings duck after winning the toss and batting first.
Warner made 21, while Usman Khawaja (62), Marnus Labuschagne (120 not out) and Travis Head (114 not out) were the main contributors as the hosts reached 330-3 at stumps.
Warner sought to have his leadership ban quashed by an independent panel set up by Cricket Australia, but the 36-year-old withdrew his bid on Wednesday, citing concerns he would be subjected to a public trial on Newlands and did not want “further trauma and disruption” for his family and teammates.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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