South Africa was also tampering with the ball

Tim Paine attends during the first day of the third cricket match between Australia and New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney. – AFP

Former Australia captain Tim Paine accused South Africa of tampering with the ball in the match immediately following the infamous 2018 Newlands test which saw the Australian team embroiled in the “Sandpaper-gate” scandal.

Paine, who stepped down as captain late last year and retired from cricket for nearly a year, made the comments in his autobiography, “The Price Paid,” which was released 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 later saw South Africa tamper with the ball in the upcoming test in Johannesburg.

“Think about it. After all that had happened in Cape Town, after all the headlines and bans and move on,” he wrote.

“I was standing at the end of the bowlers in the next test when a shot appeared on the screen of a South African player in the middle of the game with a huge hit of the ball.”

Paine said the TV director immediately withdrew the scene from the stadium screen.

“We went to the referees about it, which might seem a little poor, but we were slaughtered and we were convinced they had been up to it from the first test,” he wrote.

“But the footage was lost. What would it be like.”

Cricket South Africa and the South African team were unable to provide immediate comment to Reuters on Tuesday.

Although Cricket Australia (CA) sanctioned the three players, the media has long speculated whether other team members were involved.

Bancroft last year told the Guardian it was “self-explanatory” that Australian bowlers should be aware of ball tampering.

The Australian bowlers denied any knowledge of the plan.

Paine also denied that the scheme was in the public domain in the locker room, but said the team should have taken responsibility as a whole rather than letting the blame rest solely on the three players.

“Everyone was a part of it to some degree – would it have worked better for those three players if we had owned it as a team? I think it would have been fine,” he said.

Paine also wrote that he felt pressured to step down as trial captain by a public relations consultant employed by CA.

Paine resigned in the wake of revelations that he was being investigated by CA’s integrity unit in 2018 over a “sexting” scandal involving a former Cricket Tasmania staff member.

Although Paine was cleared of the investigation, he said he felt “abandoned” by CA once the story went 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.

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