Fanie tipped cameramen to crack ‘ball-tampering’ scandal

Former South Africa pacer Fanie De Villiers found the reverse swing in the 26th, 27th and 28th over uncanny and told the cameramen, “they’re using something”.

Australia pacer Mitchell Starc (left) in action during the second Test at Port Elizabeth.   -  AFP

Australia skipper Steve Smith, while admitting to the ball-tampering incident in the third Test against South Africa, also mentioned that it was the first time the cheating had taken place under his captaincy.

But news.com.au reported that Fanie De Villiers, the former South Africa pacer, felt it happened earlier as well. “I said earlier on, that if they could get reverse swing in the 26th, 27th, 28th over then they’re doing something different from what everyone else does,’’ De Villiers told RSN Radio.

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“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 (Cameron) 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, the roughness of the ball on the one side. You have to get one side wetter, heavier than the other side,” he added.

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“Australian teams getting reverse swing before the 30th over... they had to do something. If you use cricket ball and scratch it against a normal iron or steel gate or anything, anything steel on it, it reverse swings immediately. That’s the kind of extra alteration you need to do,” explained De Villiers, who is working as an Afrikaans commentator in the series.