Bowling coach calls on Cricket Australia to release ball-tampering report

David Saker, the coach in charge of Australia’s bowlers during the sandpaper Test match in Cape Town in 2018, has called on Cricket Australia to release the secret report it commissioned into the ball-tampering scandal.

The sport’s governing body in Australia has kept the report under lock and key since its findings led to bans for then captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

The scandal resurfaced last month when Bancroft was asked directly in an interview with the Guardian if Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan to use sandpaper on the ball during the match at Newlands three years ago. He replied that the answer was “pretty probably self-explanatory”.

The bowling group, consisting of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon, have insisted they had no knowledge of the ball tampering, but Saker, who also denied any involvement, suggested that releasing the report could help draw a line under the saga.

“I can’t see any point why it wouldn’t be released,” Saker said. “But that is up to them [CA], the way they want to handle that. Because these questions keep coming up, maybe if it’s just released then maybe the questions might stop, but I don’t think they will.”

As bowling coach at the time, Saker was interviewed as part of CA’s investigation, undertaken by integrity officer Iain Roy and high-performance manager Pat Howard, and he says he has nothing more to add to what was said then.

“There’s no doubt I had no idea there was any sandpaper involved,” he said. “As far as we knew, we were using normal tactics to get the ball reverse swinging, so that’s as far as I know.

“I was involved in the team obviously, so it’s going to keep being brought up. But I am not sure it’s going to get anywhere. I think everyone has told what they have told. We have had inquiries about it, we have all gone in and did our bit.

“So I can’t see it going any further but the questions will keep coming, there’s no doubt about that. That is just a part of life and you have got to deal with that. It’s never going to go away, that is for sure.”

After Bancroft’s recent interview, CA’s integrity unit contacted him to ask if he had any new information, but CA CEO Nick Hockley confirmed the batsman could not shed any new light on the situation.