Adelaide, Dec 8 (IANS) David Warner's manager James Erskine has claimed that there are 'far more' than three people involved in the 2018 Sandpaper saga in Cape Town, adding that some unnamed officials had given the go-ahead to players in tampering with the ball during the time Australia played South Africa in Hobart in 2016.
Drama on Warner's leadership ban continued after the left-handed opener withdrew his application to have his permanent leadership ban lifted in a lengthy statement on Wednesday due to frustration over the nature of the public hearing process. He opened in Australia's second Test against the West Indies in Adelaide Oval, making 21 off 29 balls.
But off the field, Erskine made some sensational comments on SEN 1170 Afternoons radio show, saying Australian players got permission to tamper with the ball after suffering a record-breaking loss at the hands of South Africa, as the hosts' were out for just 85 in the first innings.
'The truth will come out, let me tell you. There are lots of people. There's two cricketers who put their hands up and said at the time, '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 room in Hobart and basically were berating the team for losing against South Africa (in 2016) and Warner said we've got to reverse-swing the ball. The only way we can reverse-swing the ball is by tampering with it.'
'And they were told to do it. I'm completely against it, I think tampering with ball is a joke, but it has gone on for centuries. Everybody has been fiddling around with balls and the penalty at the time by the ICC was a one-match ban.'
'I'm not suggesting that's right because I don't think you should tamper with the ball. This was blown out of all proportion, partly because of the Prime Minister, but partly for the total reaction of the general public.'
'I totally agree, it wasn't something that was good, but it's got to the stage where three people have been completely victimised above everybody else. And it's not fair,' he explained.
While Warner was on a permanent leadership ban, Steve Smith, who was the Australian captain at that time, was handed a year-long ban and additional 12 months of no leadership positions. Smith is now captaining Australia in the ongoing second Test against the West Indies.
'The Prime Minister came out, (at the time), (Malcolm) Turnbull came out and said this is a disgrace and whatever, I think he regrets those comments now, Cricket Australia had the whole process, the (Iain) Roy report was done in four days.'
'You'd have to be a blind black Labrador, there was far more than three people involved in this thing, they all got 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.'
'Why Cricket Australia couldn't have done a very sensible thing and said listen, it's not legal that someone doesn't have a right of appeal. It's just absurd, why should he have to go through that, he has done everything he possibly could for Cricket Australia and for his team, and now he's being treated like this... this is injustice at its greatest level,' added Erskine.