NEW DELHI: Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has questioned the timing of David Warner‘s recent comments about the repercussions he faced from the Sandpaper Gate scandal, noting that other players like Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith also suffered significantly.
Warner’s remarks were made ahead of Australia’s Super 8 clash with Bangladesh, where he claimed to have borne the brunt of the fallout from the 2018 ball-tampering incident.
Warner stated that he has been the primary target of criticism since the incident, expressing frustration in an interview. He highlighted that since returning to cricket in 2018, he has faced relentless flak, suggesting that this could be due to personal dislike from some individuals towards him or the Australian cricket team.”Coming back since 2018, I’ve probably been the only one that’s ever copped a lot of flak. Whether it’s people who don’t like the Australian cricket team or don’t like me, I’ve always been that person who has copped it,” Warner told reporters ahead of Australia’s Super 8 clash with Bangladesh via Fox Sports.
The Cape Town Test in 2018 saw Warner, then-captain Steve Smith, and opener Cameron Bancroft embroiled in a notorious ball-tampering scandal. Warner and Smith were handed one-year suspensions from cricket by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft received a nine-month ban. Warner also received a lifetime ban from captaincy roles.

Michael Clarke addressed Warner’s comments on ESPN’s Around the Wicket, acknowledging that while Warner did face substantial pressure, it is unfair to suggest he was the only one affected. Clarke emphasized that the scandal also impacted the careers of Bancroft and Smith significantly.
“I understand where Davey comes from. I think parts of what he said are fair enough. I don’t think he has got the timing right. I don’t think it is fair to say that he is the only one who’s copped it. I think Cameron Bancroft has certainly copped it, and it is the reason he is not in the Australian Test team, because of what happened years ago. Steve Smith, obviously, copped it and lost the Australia captaincy,” Clarke said.
Clarke suggested that Warner’s reflection might have been more appropriately timed if it occurred after the World Cup, rather than in the middle of the tournament. He expressed concern that raising the topic now could potentially disrupt the team’s focus.
“Davey has copped it, there is certainly no doubt about it. I just don’t think the timing is probably right. I think this probably would have been better suited at the end of the World Cup rather than in the middle of the World Cup. There are probably other players in the team that would prefer for this to be not spoken about right now,” Clarke added.
The ball-tampering scandal remains a significant blemish in Australian cricket history, affecting the careers of Warner, Smith, and Bancroft.