David Saker on Newlands ball-tampering controversy
The then Australia bowling coach has likened the team’s ‘monumental mistake’ to the underarm incident of 1981
David Saker, Australia’s bowling coach at the time of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, has said the controversy will continue to taint Australian cricket much like the underarm incident of 1981 has done.
Saker’s comments came in the wake of the publication of an interview in The Guardian, where Cameron Bancroft – the player caught using sandpaper on the ball at Newlands – hinted that there was wider knowledge of the ball-tampering plan within the Australian dressing room beyond the trio of players sanctioned by Cricket Australia: himself, captain Steven Smith and vice-captain David Warner.
Without going into details of what went on in the dressing room, Saker said there was no foreseeable end to the blame game surrounding the events at Newlands.
“Obviously a lot of things went wrong at that time. The finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on,” Saker told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
“There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.
“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.
“You could point your finger at me, you could point your finger at Boof [then head coach Darren Lehmann], could you point it at other people, of course you could.
“The disappointing thing is it’s never going to go away. Regardless of what’s said. We all know that we made a monumental mistake. The gravity wasn’t as plain until it all came out.”
Following the publication of the Bancroft interview, Cricket Australia had issued a statement clarifying it was still open to hearing and investigating any new information brought to light about the Newlands incident, whether from Bancroft or anyone else.
Saker wasn’t sure what a reopened investigation would achieve.
“I don’t think it’d be unfair. I just don’t know what they’re going to find out,” Saker said. “It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away.”