Umpire reveals ball-tampering secrets

Former Test umpire Ian Gould has revealed the moment Australian cricket fell apart during the sandpaper incident in South Africa.

Englishman Gould, who retired after last year’s Cricket World Cup, was the TV umpire when Cameron Bancroft was caught ball tampering in the third Test in Cape Town.

He was sent the initial footage of Bancroft doctoring the ball which the West Australian initially denied when approached by on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth.

“I was sitting there minding my own business when the TV director said ‘I’ve got some pictures for you’,” Gould told BBC Radio’s Tuffers and Vaughan show.

“I then told the lads in the middle what I had been shown and asked them to ask Bancroft what he had in his pocket.

“He went in to his pocket and brought out a black sunglasses cloth. Within two balls the director is back on and saying ‘we’ve got a lot more footage’.

“Those were the fateful pictures of the yellow sandpaper and showed him putting it down his trousers. At the end of it all it was there in front of you.”

Gould admitted to being taken aback by the enormity of the situation in the days that followed especially the emotional press conferences conducted by skipper Smith and Bancroft in Australia.

“Cameron Bancroft is a lovely, lovely lad,” he said.

“At the end of the day’s play he put his tracksuit on, didn’t tell anyone where he was going and came into our room and apologised to us for lying. “You could see he was heartbroken but he came in for five minutes, apologised and got up and just walked away. It took a lot to do that.

“Watching Steve and Cameron on the TV in Australia, well that was hard as they are good people, decent people.”

Steve Smith. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)Source:AAP

Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Smith and Warner were handed 12-month bans and Bancroft nine months by Cricket Australia.

Gould expected the trio to be hit with a one-match ban under ICC regulations as it was their first offence.

“Under the rule book they would have got a one-game ban, but I just think the Australian public had simply had enough of the team,” he said. The affable Gould, known as ‘Gunner’ in reference to his days as a youth team player for Arsenal, was one of the most popular umpires during his 13 years on the international circuit.

But he admits the abrasive on-field behaviour of the Australian team between 2014 and 2018 often raised the eyebrows of umpires.

“They used to railroad teams a little bit and it got out of hand,” he said. “You would stand back and think ‘wow’.

“The first real incident during that time was Australia against India in Adelaide shortly after poor Phillip Hughes had passed away.

“It was the most surreal game of cricket for two days that I have ever known. “But for the next three days it was like a war out there.”

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