Warner's manager claims Australia ball-tampering scandal can be traced back to 2016 Hobart Test

By Sports Desk December 08, 2022

David Warner's manager has claimed Australia players were encouraged to tamper with the ball after a hiding at the hands of South Africa 16 months before the scandal blew up.

Australia were thrashed by an innings and 80 runs in Hobart in November 2016, after being bowled out for 85 in their first innings.

James Erskine said Warner, his client, has been unfairly treated after his part in the sandpaper scandal at Newlands in March 2018, and pointed back to the Hobart game.

Opening batter Warner was banned from elite cricket for a year and from leadership positions for life after he was deemed to have been the instigator in the plot to alter the condition of the ball in Cape Town.

However, Erskine says there was more to the episode than has thus far come to light.

He told the SEN radio network: "When the truth comes out, everyone's going to turn around and say, 'Well, why was David Warner picked upon?'.

"The truth will come out. Let me tell you. Someone will... there's lots of people. There's two cricketers who put their hands up and said, 'Why don't we all just tell the truth? They can't fire all of us.'

"That's what happened. Two senior executives were in the changing rooms in Hobart and basically were berating the team for losing to South Africa.

"Warner said we've got to reverse-swing the ball, and the only way we can reverse-swing the ball is basically by tampering with it. So they were told to do it."

Erskine did not accuse the executives of being those responsible for giving the go-ahead to tamper with the ball.

He did, however, stress the three players punished for the scandal – Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft – were far from the only people involved.

Erskine said: "You'd have to be a blind black labrador, there was far more than three people involved in this thing, they all got a canning and David Warner was completely villainised.

"He has shut up, he protected Cricket Australia, he protected his fellow players on my advice, because at the end of the day no one wanted to hear any more of it and he's got on playing cricket."

Cricket Australia has yet to comment on Erskine's latest claims.

Warner this week withdrew his appeal against a lifetime captaincy ban with Australia, saying he has no interest in "a public lynching" over his part in the controversy.

The 36-year-old, who has returned to favour since his ban, was given the chance to appeal against the decision after Cricket Australia's code of conduct changed in November, but has now confirmed he will no longer do so.

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