The revelation of Australian cheating efforts last weekend was more a considered delivery, than a chance catch. Cameramen around the ground had clear instructions to monitor the movement of the ball and, after suspicion arose, any questionable behaviour from players and coaching staff.
The cricketing world has understandably lauded the footage that exposed a clear attempt to break the rules. Twitter was soon flooded with images of dapper cameraman Zotani Oscar who was credited with bringing the Australians’ cheating attempt to the world stage.
“This is Oscar who did his #CountryDuty and caught the Australian cheating,” said Tumi Sole in one tweet that was liked nearly five thousand times. “@SuperSportTV he deserves an award!”
Fantastic camera work by Zotani Oscar.
He did not just catch Bancroft cheating, he also caught the Aussie dressing room sending a message to say, ‘Hide the sandpaper.They are all in on it’
— Saurabh Bhatia (@saurabhbhatia91) March 25, 2018
Head of production at Supersport, Alvin Naicker however, insists credit must go to the entire production team.
“From Durban we were keeping a close eye on the ball in terms of what happens in between deliveries, who it goes to and what they do,” he told the Mail & Guardian. “We always have cameras tracking the ball and seeing what’s going on. In Durban we noticed that the reversing of the ball was quite different than in a lot of games after 25 overs.
“So in this game we decided that the cameraman should stay with the ball. With Bancroft, the camera zoomed in and we noticed he had something in his hand. So we stayed with the player rather than track the ball. When we played the footage on the big screen he removed it from his pocket and put it down his pants. That’s how he got caught out.”
Shame and guilt overrode common sense as Cameron Bancroft hastily ditched his yellow paraphernalia down his crotch upon seeing himself on the big screen. It may have aided his coy demonstration with the umpires, but, in the back of his mind at least, he surely knew that he had been busted.
Earlier headlines on Monday credited former Protea Fanie de Villiers as tipping off the cameramen, but it is understood he formed part of the larger production team that recommended the ball be tracked.
“To be honest with you it was coincidental that we spotted it, it wasn’t premeditated. We generally do that in a game, any game – follow the action. If it was South Africa we also would’ve shown it, it’s not like it’s Australia and we going out for them.”
Steve Smith and David Warner would in the aftermath give up their captaincy and vice-captaincy respectively. The morning of Day 4 was also greeted with the news that the former had been given a one-game ban and would be docked 100% of his match fee. Cricket Australia are due to release their own findings into the matter on Wednesday.
Naicker, acting as TV director on the day, said of the roughly 30 cameras around the pitch, eight were dedicated to the brewing incident.
“It wasn’t just Bancroft, we had to keep an eye on the coach because he saw it on the monitor and straight away he got on the two-way radio,” he revealed.
“It wasn’t an intention to nail him, we just wanted to show what was going on.”
Whatever Wednesday’s resulting action is, what was caught on camera has no doubt burnt an indelible, hideous mark onto Australian cricket