Peter Handscomb listens to Darren Lehmann on a walkie talkie before being substituted onto the field.
Peter Handscomb listens to Darren Lehmann on a walkie talkie before being substituted onto the field.

Handscomb opens up on THAT walkie talkie conversation

TEST batsman Peter Handscomb has declared he had nothing to do with convicted ball-tamperer Cameron Bancroft hiding sandpaper down his pants in South Africa in March, and clarified events surrounding his walkie-talkie conversation with then coach Darren Lehmann.

Bancroft was banned for nine months by Cricket Australia after admitting to taking sandpaper on the ground in the third Test in Cape Town following a lunchtime plan that was hatched by David Warner.

Both Warner and captain Steve Smith copped one-year suspensions for their role in the scandal.

The plan came unstuck when TV cameras at the ground filmed Bancroft with the sandpaper, and then captured him putting it down his pants before he was confronted by the umpires.

Lehmann was seen sending a message to Handscomb, the 12th man, via a walkie-talkie, after which Handscomb went on to the ground and spoke to Bancroft.

Former Australian Cricket coach Darren Lehmann speaks on a walkie talkie to Peter Handscomb as the ball tampering scandal unfolds.
Former Australian Cricket coach Darren Lehmann speaks on a walkie talkie to Peter Handscomb as the ball tampering scandal unfolds.

But Handscomb, the Victorian captain, revealed on Thursday that creative editing was behind the misconception he delivered any message to Bancroft, and he certainly didn't tell him to hide the evidence.

"I love that footage because it's amazing how much the media edited it. It shows me on the walkie talkie then me running out and talking to Cam," Handscomb said.

"So what happened was I was on the walkie talkie, then 25 or 30 minutes later a player comes off because they needed to go to the bathroom, so as the next fielder I came on. I got put in a catching position next to Cam …. that's why I was there.

"I was literally trying to have a joke with him. There was nothing else. It had been half an hour (since footage on the big screen of Bancroft putting sandpaper in to his pants). We were talking about something else."

A CA investigation cleared Lehmann of having any knowledge of what was happening, or claims the coach told Bancroft to hide the evidence.

Lehmann was interviewed by head of integrity Iain Roy, who has since left, and at the time of the scandal CA boss James Sutherland said the coach had done nothing wrong.

"In Darren's defence, I do want to just clarify that specific matter. He sent a message (to Handscomb) to say, 'What in hell is going on?" - he didn't use hell, he used another word," Sutherland said.

"That was, through Iain's  investigation, found to be the fact."

Lehmann stood down not long after the incident and recently reiterated he had been in "shock" at what he saw on the big screen at the Newlands ground.

Peter Handscomb speaks to Cameron Bancroft on the ground.
Peter Handscomb speaks to Cameron Bancroft on the ground.

"I spoke to Peter Handscomb to find out what was going on out there, Lehmann said.

"I am very comfortable saying that - first time we saw it. No one knew what was going on out there on the ground.

Handscomb, who played in the final Test in South Africa, said he had removed himself from social media since the incident and avoided any fallout related to him.

Instead he has focused on working on keeping his Test spot, which goes on the line in next month's Australia A tour of India

"It's been quite well documented how important this is for both bat and ball," he said.

"There's going to be guys really trying to take their opportunity and step up for Test selection. I'll be doing the same to show that I am a good player of spin then hopefully set myself up for the Australian summer."



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