Cameron Bancroft tries to explain himself to the umpires at Newlands. Photo: Phando Jikelo/ANA Pictures
Cameron Bancroft tries to explain himself to the umpires at Newlands. Photo: Phando Jikelo/ANA Pictures
Cameron Bancroft reveals the yellow sandpaper. Photo: Screengrab
Cameron Bancroft reveals the yellow sandpaper. Photo: Screengrab
Bancroft moves the sandpaper towards the front of his pants. Photo: Screengrab
Bancroft moves the sandpaper towards the front of his pants. Photo: Screengrab
The black sunglasses pouch Bancroft showed to the umpires. Photo: Screengrab
The black sunglasses pouch Bancroft showed to the umpires. Photo: Screengrab

Social media was rightly awash with praise for the production crew at SuperSport and the role they played in exposing the sandpaper affair during the Newlands Test.

The timeline of events was perfectly edited, and there was no doubt that the Australians were cheating.

But would SuperSport have shown that footage had it been a South African and not an Australian player shoving sandpaper into his pants?

SuperSport’s head of productions Alvin Naicker said in a recent interview on Kaya FM that the broadcaster would definitely show a South African player cheating if it ever happened.

That’s a nice thought, but evidence of ball-tampering recently suggests host broadcasters aren’t in the business of doing so.

The three incidents involving South African players in the last five years all happened overseas, where the television broadcast was not handled by SuperSport.

In Dubai in 2013 when Faf du Plessis was caught scratching the ball on a zip on his pants, Ten Sports was the host broadcaster.

READ: Cameron Bancroft says he panicked

In Galle in Sri Lanka, it was again Ten Sports that found footage of Vernon Philander scratching one side of the ball.

In 2016, the infamous minty saliva was first seen on Channel Nine by a viewer, but the broadcaster certainly splashed that footage across screens in the days that followed.

Both Ten Sports and Channel Nine had commercial relationships with the respective cricket boards at the time of those incidents.

SuperSport has a commercial relationship with Cricket SA too, and is one of the federation’s biggest funders.

It leaves broadcasters with an ethical dilemma. Were SuperSport to show a Proteas player tampering with the ball or getting up to any other kind of wrong, they’d be jeopardising their relationship with Cricket SA.

READ MORE: Steve Smith breaks down, refuses to blame David Warner

The federation, of course, would not take kindly to having one of its partners embarrass one of its contracted employees.

Cricket is not unique in this regard.

Back in 2014, the Springboks beat the All Blacks thanks to a last-minute penalty by Pat Lambie that had resulted from a slow-motion replay – with a very helpful angle for the home team – that showed a foul by Liam Messam.

SuperSport was the broadcaster that day too. SuperSport also has a commercial relationship with SA Rugby.

Increasingly, to ensure objectivity, the controlling bodies of international sport, it seems, will have to create a new position that will see an official actually sit in the production studios of broadcasters.

Such a person would have access to all cameras and all angles.

It will eliminate the ethical predicament broadcasters increasingly face, and allow fairness in terms of what is shown and what is not.

 

The Star