David Warner’s manager claims players were instructed to tamper with ball

David Warner’s manager has claimed his client “protected Cricket Australia” over the 2018 sandpaper scandal, claiming the ball-tampering plot ran deeper than the three players who were sanctioned.

Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft were the only individuals punished for the incident, which took place at Newlands during a bitter series against South Africa and caused a huge political stir Down Under.

The episode has resurfaced in recent weeks, with Warner initially attempting to overturn a lifetime ban on captaining the national side only to abandon his appeal with an angry statement that accused the review panel of seeking a “public lynching”.

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Now, against the backdrop of the Adelaide Test against the West Indies, his adviser James Erskine has upped the stakes by suggesting knowledge of the tampering was wider-ranging and longer-standing than previously thought.

“You’d have to be a blind Black Labrador…there was far more than three people involved in this thing, they all got a canning and David Warner was completely villainised,” Erskine told Melbourne’s SEN Radio.

“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. The truth will come out, let me tell you.

“There’s 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.”

Erskine suggested the origins of the sandpaper drama dated back to an earlier series against the Proteas in 2016, adding: “Two senior executives were in the changing room in Hobart and basically were berating the team for losing against South Africa 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’. They were told to do it.”

In between the two South Africa series, Australia won the 2017-18 Ashes 4-0. The PA news agency has contacted Cricket Australia for a response.