It’s a dark day for cricket in Australia. A trio of players have been caught out on camera tampering with a ball in the midst of a match against South Africa, an incident now dubbed “Sandpapergate.” And fans are both flabbergasted and saddened that their beloved sport is now the site of national scandal.
In a video captured of “fielder” Cameron Bancroft, Bancroft can be seen attempting to affix a piece of grit-coated tape to the ball that will be thrown to a “batsman.” He then disposes of the tape in his pants. The point of the tape trick was to change the trajectory of the ball in the air, unbalancing it and making it more difficult to hit. But when he realized that he was being filmed, Bancroft said, he “panicked” and stuck it down his waistband.
Unfortunately, the cameras were still rolling. Team captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Bancroft have all apologized for their behavior, and are being disciplined by Cricket Australia with suspensions from play. Even Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was moved to comment on the scandal.
“It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating,” Turnbull said. “After all, our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play. How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief.”
The Australians lost to the South Africans by 322 points, too.