Australia’s Test batsman Peter Handscomb has finally come out in open to speak about his involvement in the much-hyped ball-tampering scandal which plagued world cricket with its after-effects for a long time. Handscomb said he was inadvertently dragged into the ball-tampering scandal during the Cape Town Test between South Africa and Australia in March.
The 27-year old declared that footage of his involvement that portrays him in a poor light had been selectively edited by the broadcasters. He was long seen as the messenger who conveyed teammate Cameron Bancroft, who was on the field about the incident that he was caught on camera while using sandpaper on the red cherry.
Speaking in public for the first time since the incident – which culminated in lengthy bans for Bancroft, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner for their roles in the controversy – the Melbourne-born cricketer says it’s not as it seems on the television.
“I love that footage because it’s amazing how much the media edited it. It shows me on the walkie talkie then me running out and talking to Cam,” Handscomb was quoted by foxsports.com.au.
“What happened was; I was on the walkie-talkie, then 25 or 30 minutes later a player comes off because they needed to go to the bathroom, so as the next fielder I came on. I got put in a catching position next to Cam … that’s why I was there.
“I was literally trying to have a joke with him. There was nothing else. It had been half an hour. We were talking about something else.”
Handscomb also added that his walkie-talkie conversation with then-coach Darren Lehmann was more than 20 minutes before he came onto the field, which he only did when another player had to use the bathroom.
When asked if Lehmann’s message was to say “what the heck is going on out there”, Handscomb said: “Pretty much, it’s been quite well documented.”
Lehmann was cleared of any involvement in the scandal following a Cricket Australia internal investigation.
Handscomb was one of three players to earn a Test recall for Australia after Bancroft, Warner and Smith were sent home from Cape Town before the fourth and final Test against South Africa. He said he is now ready to move on from the past and is now focussing on staking his claim to find a place in the national Test side.
Next month, Australia A’s tour to India will determine the make-up of Justin Langer’s side, who will face Pakistan in the UAE in October. Interestingly, this will be Australia’s first Test assignment since the ball-tampering scandal.