Fanie de Villiers - The man who tipped off the cameramen

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 27, 2018 17:24 hrs

The television crew at Cape Town deserves all the credit for catching the Australians red-handed. However, the mastermind behind revelation was former South Africa fast bowler Fanie de Villiers who asked the crew to keep an eye on the Australian fielders after he spotted something fishy.

De Villiers, who was doing commentary for one of the official broadcasters told Australian radio station RSN927 that he told the camera crew to keep focussing on Cameron Bancroft after he spotted that the Australian fielder rubbing the ball with a piece of yellow tape.

"We actually said to our cameramen: 'Go out. Have a look, boys. They are using something.' It's impossible for the ball to get altered like that on a cricket wicket where we knew there is a grass covering on. It's not a Pakistani wicket where there are cracks every centimetre. You have to get the one side wetter, heavier than the other side," de Villiers said.

"I said earlier that if they could get reverse swing in the 26th, 27th, 28th over, then they are doing something different from what everyone else does. Australian teams getting reverse swing before the 30th over, they had to do something. If you use a 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," he added.

Speaking further, De Villiers said that it took the crew a good hour and a half of searching before they caught Bancroft in the act.

Bancroft was caught on camera using what is believed to be a tape before attempting to hide the object down the front of his pants moments before the umpires seemingly inquired about the contents of his pockets.

Television footage later showed Bancroft rubbing the ball and then seemingly putting an object back in his pocket.

As soon as the incident was shown on the giant screen, the player was questioned in the presence of his captain Steve Smith by the two on-field umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong.

The on-field officials along with third umpire Ian Gould and fourth umpire Allahudien Palekar later charged Bancroft.

With agency inputs