Ex-Australia skipper Paine accuses South Africa of ball-tampering

SYDNEY – Tim Paine has accused South Africa of blatant ball-tampering just days after Australian cricket was rocked by the sandpaper-gate scandal in 2018, alleging it was covered up by the match broadcaster.

The former Australian skipper made the cheating claims in his new autobiography released Tuesday and widely reported by Australian media.

He wrote that South Africa picked at the seam in the Test that followed the now infamous Cape Town one where TV cameras caught Australia's Cameron Bancroft hiding sandpaper in his trousers after appearing to use it on the ball.

Paine claimed in the South African instance, the host broadcaster "immediately pulled the shot off the screen" and the footage "got lost".

"I saw it happen in the fourth Test of that series," he wrote, referring to the match in Johannesburg that the Proteas won by 492 runs.

"Think about that. After everything that had happened in Cape Town, after all the headlines and bans and carry on.

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"I was standing at the bowlers' end in the next Test when a shot came up on the screen of a South African player at mid-off having a huge crack at the ball.

"The television director, who had played an active role in catching out Cam (Bancroft), immediately pulled the shot off the screen.

"We went to the umpires about it, which might seem a bit poor, but we'd been slaughtered and were convinced they'd been up to it since the first Test. But the footage got lost. As it would."

The Bancroft scandal sent shockwaves through Australian cricket, with the batsman, along with captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner, sent home in disgrace.

Warner and Smith were both slapped with one-year bans for their role, while Bancroft was given nine months.

In the book, Paine alleged ball-tampering was commonplace in cricket, but conceded that using sandpaper was "next level" and "shameful".

But he denied any suggestion of a team meeting that planned what Bancroft did, saying his heart sank as replays showed what happened.

"A sense of dread came over us all," he said, while adding that he regretted that more support was not offered to Smith, Warner and Bancroft in the fallout from the rest of the team.

"Would it have worked out better for those three players if we had owned it as a team? I think it would have," he said.

Artmotion S.Africa

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