Former Proteas fast bowler Fanie de Villiers says he told the cameramen to watch out for ball tampering after realising that something was amiss.
Australia’s Cameron Bancroft was caught red-handed by television cameras while trying to change the condition of the ball on day three of the third Test against South Africa at Newlands. Steve Smith admitted at the end of the day’s play that Bancroft had been instructed to do so by the team’s ‘leadership group’.
As a result, Smith will miss the final Test of the series at the Wanderers and Bancroft was given three demerit points. David Warner was also stood down as the team’s vice-captain for the remainder of the Newlands Test.
De Villiers, who has knowledge on the condition of the Newlands pitch, has revealed he was the one who asked the cameramen to watch for ball tampering after the Australian seamers started to reverse swing the ball sooner than expected, on a wicket with a lot of grass.
‘I said earlier on that if they could get reverse swing in the 26th, 27th, 28th over, then they are doing something different from what everyone else does,’ De Villiers told a radio station on Monday.
‘We actually said to our cameramen, “go out [and] have a look, boys. They’re using something”.
‘They searched for an hour and a half until they saw something and then they started following Bancroft and they actually caught him out at the end.
‘It’s impossible for the ball to get altered like that on cricket wickets where we knew there was grass on, not a Pakistani wicket where there’s cracks every centimetre. We’re talking about a grass-covered wicket where you have to do something else to alter the shape, to alter the roughness of the ball on the one side. You have to get the one side wetter, heavier than the other side.’
Listen to De Villiers’ interview with Australian radio station RSN.
“We said to our cameraman go out and have a look if they are using something. It’s impossible for the ball to get altered like that.”
— RSN Breakfast Club (@RSNBreakfast) March 25, 2018
Photo: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images