Michael Clarke has called on Cricket Australia to address claims from David Warner's manager that Aussie players were instructed to tamper with the ball by unnamed senior executives. Warner's manager James Erskine made the explosive claims on Thursday, saying the incident occurred some 16 months before the sandpaper scandal in South Africa in 2018.
Speaking out in the wake of Warner's decision to drop his attempt to have his lifetime leadership ban overturned, Erskine said the truth about the ball-tampering scandal is yet to fully come out. Erskine claimed that players were given the green light to tamper with the ball during a conversation in the dressing rooms after a Test match in Hobart.
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"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 radio. "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."
Cricket Australia is yet to comment publicly about Erskine's allegations. A former executive who was reportedly in the room at the time has contacted AAP to deny the claims.
Addressing the situation on Friday morning, former Australia captain Clarke said Cricket Australia needs to respond publicly. Clarke warned the governing body that the scandal isn't going away any time soon.
“Honestly, I’ve said the last, I don’t know how long, probably since 'Sandpapergate' has happened, that I wish this thing would go away. Well, you know what, I’m going to say the opposite because yesterday is an explosion," Clarke said on Sky Sports radio.
“This thing is going nowhere. This thing is getting out of control. This thing is getting bigger. I’ll tell you what, there are some nervous men waking up this morning with this comments made yesterday by David Warner’s manager James Erskine. When I saw that yesterday my jaw hit the floor.
“Where’s Cricket Australia?. This is the thing that needs to be clear to Cricket Australia. You cannot sweep this under the carpet and say, ‘Well, we’ve got a new board, we’ve got a new CEO’. Listen, I don’t care if you’ve got to go back to James Sutherland, pick up the phone and call him or Pat Howard or anyone else who was involved with what James Erskine is saying because you’re not sweeping this.
“You better find out what the heck has gone on. I want to know, as a past Australian captain, I want to know what is going on inside this set-up. I’m telling you now if James Erskine has that information, do you think that’s the only thing he’s got. This thing is not going away, the truth needs to be told.
“... Cricket Australia needs serious help right now. They need proper help. This is every man for themselves. It is horrible.”
David Warner drops attempt to overturn leadership ban
On Wednesday night, Warner announced that he was ditching his attempt to overturn his lifetime leadership ban because an independent panel wanted to hold a public hearing. Warner said he didn't want to put his family through more unnecessary pain and stress.
"They want to conduct a public spectacle to, in the panel's words, have a 'cleansing'. I am not prepared for my family to be the washing machine for cricket's dirty laundry," Warner said. "And the review panel appears determined to expose me and my family to further humiliation and harm by conducting a media circus."
Erskine also said on Thursday: “I think [Warner] is fed up with the process, the trauma (from) that the original decision in South Africa, to his family and (wife) 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."
Cricket Australia recently changed its code of conduct to allow Warner to appeal the leadership ban. He was initially suspended for 12 months for his role in the sandpaper scandal and deemed never to hold a leadership position for the rest of his career.
But despite the change in the code, the public hearing wouldn't work for Warner of wife Candice. "The fact that my daughters have to cop abuse because of incidents that have happened in the past is not fair," Candice told Triple M radio. "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?"
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