Former British cricketer-turned-umpire Ian Gould, who retired from cricket after the India versus Sri Lanka game in the 2019 World Cup, has revealed the name of the person who first suspected the infamous ball-tampering scandal of Australia cricket team in 2018.
In his new autobiography, ‘Gunner: My Life In Cricket’, Gould has stated that New Zealand’s umpire Chris Gaffaney was the first person who suspected the wrongdoing. Gould expressed that his counterpart Gaffaney left a message on his phone which said “things were starting to get a little bit out of hand” during Australia’s four-Test series against South Africa.
In the tour, Gaffaney had umpired the first two Tests, and Gould was supposed to officiate in the remaining matches in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
“The umpiring team had their suspicions that Australia were working a little too aggressively on the condition of the ball, and they had an informal word with the host broadcaster SuperSport asking that if their camera crew saw anything that looked unusual they should let the umpires know,” Gould wrote as quoted by 1News.
Gould was the third umpire in the New Lands Test, and since Gaffaney cautioned him, he paid more attention in the game. During the game, when the Englishman received the footage, he passed on the vision to on-field umpires, in which the Aussie player Cameron Bancroft was seen putting sandpaper down his trousers.
After understanding the whole episode, Gould, who has been the member of International Cricket Council (ICC) ‘s Elite Panel of cricket umpires, opined that the decision of the international apex body not to bring Richard Illingworth, Nigel Llong and himself was a mistake.
“In hindsight, ICC’s decision not to bring Illy [Richard Illingworth], Nige [Nigel Llong] and myself in until the third test was a mistake,” added the 62-year-old.
Gould further criticised ICC stating that two of the three umpires (Kumar Dharmasena, Gaffaney, Sundaram Ravi) who stood in the first two Tests were comparatively inexperienced. Gould was talking about the pair of Kiwi and Indian umpire.
“Two of the three lads who did the first two tests were relatively inexperienced. (Kumar) Dharmasena had stood in over 50 Tests, but Chris was in only his 19th game and the other umpire, Sundaram Ravi from India, had fewer than 25 tests under his belt and within a year or so had been kicked off the elite panel because he wasn’t deemed good enough,” Gould added further.
After the incident, Cricket Australia (CA) acted strictly and banned the likes of David Warner, Steve Smith and Bancroft. While Bancroft received a nine-month ban, Smith and Warner were slapped with a 12-months ban from playing in all international and domestic cricket matches.
Gould stood as an umpire in 74 Test matches, 140 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), and 37 T20 Internationals (T20Is).