A former executive at Cricket Australia has responded to bombshell claims from David Warner's manager that Aussie players were given the green light to tamper with the ball some 16 months before the sandpaper scandal of 2018. In an explosive interview on SEN radio on Thursday, Warner's manager David Erskine claimed two executives at Cricket Australia told the players to tamper with the ball if that was the only way they could get it to reverse-swing.
In the same match that South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was caught applying saliva to the ball with a mint in his mouth, Australia were bowled out for just 85 in their first innings and suffered a humiliating loss. Erskine said two executives were berating the players in the changerooms after the match and gave the players the green light to tamper with the ball.
"Two senior executives were in the changing room in Hobart and basically were berating the team for losing against South Africa," Erskine said on SEN. "Warner said we've got to reverse-swing the ball. And the only way we can reverse-swing the ball is by tampering with it. And so they were told to do it."
Erskine also claimed the whole truth about the ball-tampering saga in Cape Town is yet to come out, and that people will eventually believe that Warner was unfairly targeted. "There was far more than three people involved in this thing, they all got a canning and David Warner was completely villainised," Erskine said.
"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. This is injustice at its greatest level."
A former executive who is believed to have been in the room at the time has since contacted AAP to deny Erskine's allegations. Cricket Australia is yet to publicly comment.
The latest bombshell comes after Warner withdrew his attempt to have his lifetime leadership ban overturned by Cricket Australia. Warner, who was dubbed the 'architect' of the scandal that saw Cameron Bancroft caught applying sandpaper to the ball, was suspended for 12 months for his role and banned for the rest of his career from holding a leadership position within Australian cricket.
Cricket Australia recently changed its code of conduct to allow Warner to appeal the lifetime ban. However the 36-year-old announced on Wednesday that he was withdrawing his request because an independent panel tasked with hearing the appeal wanted to have a public hearing.
Cricket Australia have confirmed that they had supported Warner's request for the panel to hold the hearing behind closed doors. But both CA and Warner were told on Wednesday that would not be the case, with the panel of three independent Code of Conduct commissioners able to set their own parameters.
"We are disappointed with this outcome, as our intention was to give David the opportunity to demonstrate why his lifetime leadership ban should be varied at an independent hearing and we amended our Code of Conduct accordingly," a CA spokesman said.
In a lengthy statement, Warner said a public hearing would only act as a witch hunt and put his family through more pain that they didn't need. Warner claimed the panel hadn't given consideration to the welfare of his family or teammates, suggesting the hearing would be akin to a public lynching.
Candice Warner lashes out over panel decision
He also suggested counsel assisting the panel, who Warner said had since been removed, had made "offensive and unhelpful comments" about him. Warner's wife Candice also hit out at the process on Thursday.
"The fact that my daughters have to cop abuse because of incidents that have happened in the past is not fair," she told Triple M. "It's still raw, we go to cricket so often watching David play and there's always people yelling things out at the crowd.
"Our family's already suffered and endured so much pain. Why do it now? What's it going to achieve?"
Erskine also said on Thursday: “I think he’s fed up with the process, the trauma (from) that the original decision in South Africa, to his family and Candice, she lost a baby because of it. I think it’s odd, I don’t quite understand the process myself… of course, they (Cricket Australia) want this open court on the appeal.
“When you get banned for life with no appeal, I don’t think that can be legal. You can murder 25 people and get an appeal, and go have a second trial."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.