Tim Paine has accused South Africa of ball tampering in the Test match immediately after Australian cricket was rocked by the sandpaper-gate scandal. Paine made the explosive claims in his autobiography The Price Paid, with the former Test captain becoming the first player to lift the lid on the 2018 Cape Town Test in a tell-all book.
Paine denies any suggestion of a team meeting around the plan for Cameron Bancroft to use sandpaper on the ball during the third Test of the series against South Africa. And he says he was stunned and his heart sank as replays showed Bancroft hiding the sandpaper in his pants before being spoken to by umpires.
“I was thinking ‘what the fuck?’,” Paine wrote. “A sense of dread came over us all.”
In a lengthy chapter on the 2018 tour, Paine alleged that ball tampering was commonplace in cricket and that it was the sport’s dirty little secret. But he conceded using sandpaper was “next level” and “shameful”, with traditional tampering usually via means such as throwing the ball into the ground.
Regardless, he alleges he saw a South African player pulling apart the seam of the ball in the following Test and says it left him furious.
“I saw it happen in the fourth Test of that series,” Paine alleges in the book. “Think about that. After everything that had happened in Cape Town, after all the headlines and bans and carry on.
“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.”
Paine said it felt like Australia were being “provoked” throughout the series amid crowd abuse of players’ families with David Warner a particular target.
Paine has regularly called for Warner’s lifetime leadership ban to be lifted, claiming Cricket Australia seized an opportunity to punish him after the previous year’s pay talks. And he admitted he felt as if the side had let the opener down before the Cape Town debacle.
“I don’t know how [Warner] kept his cool in those situations and on reflection I feel the team let him down by not offering him more support,” Paine wrote. “I can see now he was masking a lot of pain and we should have known it.”
Paine also revealed in the book that he felt abandoned and “hung out to dry” by Cricket Australia when explicit text messages that ultimately cost him the top job were on the verge of becoming public.
Paine detailed how he “fell apart” following the scandal, lost weight and turned to gruelling runs as a form of self-punishment.
The 37-year-old stood down as captain in November last year and took time away from the game after a 2017 text message exchange with a Cricket Tasmania colleague came to light.
“I was prepared to cop the flak for what I did, but in my mind Cricket Australia had abandoned me and made it look like they thought I’d sexually harassed someone,” he wrote in the book.
Paine was cleared of wrongdoing in relation to the text messages by a CA investigation in 2018 and maintains the exchange was consensual.
Paine also laid bare the scars surrounding Justin Langer’s exit as Australia coach, labelling the handling of the matter as a disgrace, unprofessional and embarrassing.