Former England captain Michael Vaughan has described Cricket Australia’s probe into the 2018 ball-tampering controversy as a “piecemeal investigation”, saying it has left many questions unanswered and will keep coming back to bite the governing body. The trio of then Australian skipper Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned for their roles in the ball tampering scandal which happened during the Cape Town Test in 2018. The scandal, however, came back to the spotlight after Bancroft recently stated that whether the Australian bowlers knew of the plan to use a sandpaper on the ball during the Cape Town Test against South Africa, was “self-explanatory.”

“Not many former professionals I have spoken to believe something like that would be confined to just three people. There might be some in a dressing room who may not like it and disagree with a course of action, but say nothing because they do not want to go against the captain. I can see how that happens,” Vaughan wrote in the “Sydney Morning Herald”.

“Ultimately, this shows what happens if you do a piecemeal investigation and leave questions unanswered. It will keep biting you on the backside and does not do anyone any good.”

Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke too stated that it won’t be “surprising” if the bowlers knew about the plot and criticised the cricket body for “sweeping it under the carpet”.

The Australian bowling quartet comprising Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and spinner Nathan Lyon, who were all part of the team during the ill-fated series, issued a joint statement on Tuesday to claim innocence and call for an end to “rumour-mongering and innuendo”.

Bancroft, who was caught using sandpaper on the ball and was handed a nine-month ban, later reportedly claimed that he was left flustered by the unexpected line of questioning and that there was no malice behind his remarks.

Vaughan said it is now difficult for Cricket Australia to ban more players in retrospect.

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“Cricket Australia probably felt it looked into it properly and hoped everyone would move on. A lot of damage was done to Australian cricket’s reputation and to those involved,” he wrote.

“I felt at the time the bans were too severe, and I can see why Cricket Australia would not want to go back over it. You cannot ban players retrospectively.”

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