‘I giggled to myself’: Khawaja responds to South African great’s shock new Sandpapergate claims

Home » ‘I giggled to myself’: Khawaja responds to South African great’s shock new Sandpapergate claims
‘I giggled to myself’: Khawaja responds to South African great’s shock new Sandpapergate claims

Usman Khawaja has responded to shock claims from Faf du Plessis that South Africa had suspicions of Australia ball-tampering prior to the infamous ‘Sandpapergate’ scandal in 2018.

The former South Africa skipper detailed the accusations in his autobiography ‘Faf: Through Fire,’ which is set to be released later this week.

In it du Plessis revealed South Africa started spying on Australian fielders through binoculars in the changeroom from the first Test of the series such was their concerns – claims that News Corp states Australian sources have firmly shut down.

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However Khawaja noted that from the second Test in the series in Port Elizabeth, South Africa had gotten its own reverse swing.

The Aussie also highlighted when he was bowled by Kagiso Rabada at the WACA some six years ago in what he called a “rare” inswinger 40 overs into the match.

Khawaja is dismissed during day 1 of the second Test match between South Africa and Australia in 2018 (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)Source: FOX SPORTS

“Even in the second Test of that series, South Africa reverse swung the ball before we did,” Khawaja told The Age at Sunday’s Twenty20 World Cup clash between India and Pakistan.

“So for him to say that … they were reverse swinging it before we were. It’s easy pointing fingers but I remember Kagiso Rabada blew my stumps apart at the WACA, reverse swinging it first innings and that was after 40 overs.

“So they were always very good at reverse swinging and it’s very rare to see reverse swing at the WACA other than on day five.

“So while he says that, there was a period of time where reverse swing was very prominent in the game. How every team was doing it, I can’t really speak for that, but I giggled to myself when I saw those comments.”

Khawaja thinks ultimately the 2018 series “wasn’t played in the best spirit of the game” and hopes this summer’s clash will have more integrity.

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“From our side I never liked it, even from the first game (in Durban), a lot happened that game, and I just thought the spirit was lost,” he said.

“I think we’re a very different Australian cricket team now, the way we play cricket is very different. We haven’t played each other since then in Test cricket and I like to think that the most important thing is we play this Test series coming up in the right spirit.

“We instigated a lot of that during that time and hopefully we can have a really good, competitive series and play it as something we can be proud of.

“No matter who wins, we say it was hard fought like it always is with South Africa, but it was fair and played in the right spirit of the game.

“For me that’s the most important thing, we’ve had a few series against South Africa that got really heated and both teams pushed the boundaries a bit too much.”

Cameron Bancroft, who was hit with a nine-month ban as one of the central Australian figures in the ball-tampering incident, reignited the scandal last year in explosive suggestions other teammates were aware of the plot.

Bancroft in an interview with The Guardian suggested Australia’s bowlers had knowledge of the plan – suggestions denied by pacemen Josh Hazlewood in 2018.

However Bancroft since backflipped on such claims and said he didn’t have new information to share with the governing body, while the four bowlers in question released a joint statement in response to the remarks denying any knowledge of wrongdoing.

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