Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley has hit back at David Warner’s agent, branding his comments over the ball-tampering scandal ‘unhelpful and unfounded’.
In 2018, Cricket Australia (CA) banned the former Test vice-captain from any leadership role over his involvement in the Sandpapergate affair.
On Thursday, James Erskine claimed the ball tampering plot was common knowledge among the players long before the Test in Cape Town.
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley has hit back at comments from David Warner’s agent
Speaking on SEN Radio on Thursday, Erskine accused cricket officials of giving players permission to tamper with the ball after Australia lost the second Test of their series against South Africa in Hobart in November 2016.
Hockley, however, firmly dismissed the claims.
‘I think they’re really unhelpful and unfounded comments,’ he told SEN Radio on Friday morning.
‘I think as an investigation was done at the time – but I think it’s been said repeatedly, if new information is to be brought forward then as with any matter of integrity there are those avenues to bring forward information at any stage.’
Warner and Steve Smith were found to have been the instigators of the ball-tampering saga in the third Test of the series against South Africa four years ago
Warner received a life-time ban from captaining Australia in any format of the game for his role in the Sandpaper-gate scandal at Newlands in 2018
During the third Test match of the series against South Africa in Cape Town, Warner and former Australia captain Steve Smith directed batter Cameron Bancroft to tamper the ball using a piece of sandpaper.
Bancroft was caught on camera scuffing the ball and was subsequently suspended from cricket for nine months, while Warner and Smith were all banned from the game for 12 months.
Smith was banned from holding the captaincy of any team for two years, while Warner received a lifetime ban for leadership roles.
At no stage did Erskine state the officials allegedly involved were from Cricket Australia, but he slammed its handling of the scandal when it first broke, alleging the investigation was rushed and his client was made a scapegoat for the affair.
In an explosive interview on Thursday, Warner’s manager James Erskine claimed the ball-tampering plot was common knowledge long before 2018
And Hockley suggested Erskine’s bombshell claims had served only to make Warner’s circumstances even more difficult.
‘But I think it goes to the point raised at the outset, this [the amendment in CA’s policy] was never and not about relooking at the events or the decision,’ he said.
‘This was about looking at the sanction and whether behaviour since, and remediation, and the remorse was such that the ban could be modified.
‘If anything has been opened up, I think that’s totally counter to the objectives of the process. I think it’s precisely what David was hoping would not happen when he applied for it to be done in private.’
Erskine accused cricket officials of giving players permission to tamper with the ball after Australia lost the second Test of their series against South Africa in Hobart in 2016 (above)
The Proteas won the three-game series after wrapping up a dominant victory in the second Test in Hobart, thrashing Australia by an innings and 80 runs
Last month, CA passed an amendment to its code of conduct, which was expected to allow Warner to request a review of the sanction.
But both were on Wednesday told by the independent panel of code-of-conduct commissioners they were holding firm on the matter.
Warner subsequently withdrew his appeal against his lifetime captaincy ban, with an explosive statement in which he accused the Review Panel of seeking a ‘public lynching’.
But Hockley refuted the suggestion, insisting he was disappointed by Warner’s decision to withdraw his appeal.
Warner withdrew his appeal against his lifetime captaincy ban on Wednesday
‘The purpose of the hearing was to talk about remediation and remorse and what David had learned so far and certainly in my experience he has had an exemplary record since,’ he said.
‘And I think we worked hard to provide David with an opportunity to put forward how he has grown and how he wants to contribute.
‘I’m disappointed that at this stage he has not taken up that opportunity.’
While Warner withdrew his appeal, Hockley suggested the veteran opener could still reapply to have his ban overturned if he so wished.