Cricket Australia has contacted Cameron Bancroft seeking new information about the 2018 sandpaper scandal, while England’s Stuart Broad has chipped in with a sceptical take on the official account of the episode.
Bancroft was banned for nine months for his role in the ball-tampering plot that plunged Australian cricket into crisis, while ring leaders Steve Smith and David Warner each received year-long suspensions.
Head coach Darren Lehmann also resigned his post but no other team members were found to be complicit during an initial investigation, including the bowlers who would have benefited from the changed condition of the ball.
Speaking to the Guardian over the weekend, Bancroft was asked directly if the bowlers knew about his actions and twice said the answer was “pretty self-explanatory”. Now CA’s integrity unit have formally written to him during his overseas stint at Durham with an invitation to shed fresh light on the controversy.
Broad, whose own rivalry with Australia runs long and deep, was asked about those developments during the launch of Lifebuoy’s partnership with the Chance to Shine charity. And he made it clear elite bowlers were highly unlikely to miss significant alterations to the tool of their trade.
He said: “In an England Test team, if I miss the seam by four millimetres, Jimmy Anderson’s on me…‘why has this ball got a mark on it here; it’s because you’ve missed the seam: start hitting the seam, will you’.
“As an England team we are aware if we’re trying to get the ball reversing, every player has to buy into that or it will stop it.
“I didn’t see any of the inquiry into what happened but I have seen a couple of comments from David Warner’s agent and I think it will be an interesting time when he stops playing for Australia and writes a book.
“There’s no doubt the Aussies would have been hoping this episode was signed, sealed and delivered.”
The matter has drawn plenty of debate in Australia, with former national captains Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke among those to share a cynical reading of the original investigation.
“I think there’s a few people that have got it stored away and are ready to pull the trigger when the time is right,” Gilchrist told SEN Radio in Perth.
“I think anyone would be naive to think that people weren’t aware of what’s going on about ball maintenance and I don’t think CA wanted to go there.”
Clarke was just as forthcoming, telling Sky Sports Radio: “What’s the surprise, that more than three people knew? If you’d played the game of cricket, you would know more than three people know what was going on in there.
“The problem Cricket Australia has is the fact they’ve tried to sweep it under the carpet and not come out and tell the full story.”
Ben Oliver, CA’s executive general manager of national teams, had earlier told a media conference: “We’ve maintained all the way through that if anyone has any new information relating to that incident, we encourage people to come forward and discuss that with Cricket Australia.
“In this case our integrity team have reached out to Cam, extending that invitation to him if he does have any new information…or to remind him if he does have any new information in addition to what his input was into the original investigation, there is an avenue for him to do that.”