MELBOURNE: Former Australia captain Tim Paine has accused South Africa of ball-tampering in the match that immediately followed the infamous 2018 Newlands test which saw the Australian team engulfed in the 'Sandpaper-gate' scandal.
Paine, who stepped down from the captaincy late last year and withdrew from cricket for nearly a year, made the comments in his autobiography, "The Price Paid," which was released on Tuesday.
Australia suspended former captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft after Bancroft was caught on camera with a piece of sandpaper on the field during the Cape Town test of the South Africa tour.
However, Paine said he then saw South Africa ball-tampering in the next test in Johannesburg. "Think about that. After everything that had happened in Cape Town, after all the headlines and bans and carry on," he wrote.
"I was standing at the bowlers' end in the next test when a shot came up on the screen of a South African player at mid-off having a huge crack at the ball." Paine said the TV director immediately pulled the shot off the stadium screen.
"We went to the umpires about it, which might seem a bit poor, but we'd been slaughtered and were convinced they'd been up to it since the first test," he wrote. "But the footage got lost. As it would."
Cricket South Africa and the South Africa team were unable to provide immediate comment to Reuters on Tuesday. Though Cricket Australia (CA) sanctioned the three players, media have long speculated as to whether other members of the team were involved. Bancroft last year told The Guardian that it was "self-explanatory" that Australia's bowlers had to be aware of the ball-tampering.
Australia's bowlers have denied any knowledge of the plan. Paine also denied the scheme was common knowledge in the dressing room but said the team should have taken responsibility as a whole rather than let the blame fall solely on the three players.
"Everyone was a part of it to some degree - would it have worked out better for those three players if we had owned it as a team? I think it would have,” he said.
Paine also wrote that he felt pressured to resign from the test captaincy by a public relations consultant employed by CA. Paine stepped down in the wake of revelations he had been investigated by CA's integrity unit in 2018 over a 'sexting' scandal involving a former Cricket Tasmania staffer.
Though Paine was cleared by the investigation, he said he felt "abandoned" by CA once the story became public. "I felt they were driven by the need to protect their image ... They were hanging me out to dry." CA did not provide immediate comment when contacted by Reuters on Tuesday.