Smith and Warner returning to the scene of the 'crime'
THE man who called cricket's "sandpapergate" moment as it happened believes Steve Smith and David Warner will have to play musical chairs when they return to the Cape Town dressing room on Wednesday night.
Fox Cricket expert Brendon Julian, who was commentating at the infamous Test two years ago and was on air when the images of sandpaper were beamed around the world, said he'd be stunned if walking back into Newlands' change rooms, where the so-called ball-tampering plan was concocted, didn't trigger some flashback for the players' about the moment when their lives changed forever.
Julian said the fact it was a Twenty20 international - a series decider against South Africa - rather than a Test match should help lance the boil quickly but, knowing the superstitions of cricketers, he believed Smith and Warner might look for different seats in a bid to make a "clean break."
"For Steven Smith being captain, he's basically the first Australian captain to have the captaincy taken off him for a non-performance-related incident, and I think that's a big thing for him," Julian said.
"I think he will be like, 'This was the turning point at a certain point in time where it all went wrong for me and I sat right here, and I looked over there' … I think that will be weird and it will be for David Warner as well. I doubt they can sit in the same spot.
"When you go into the change room, and this happens all the time, players have their spot. And those Test guys would have their same spot … whether it's the SCG, the Gabba, Adelaide Oval, Lord's, you have your spot where you normally like to go and sit at and that's one thing players always gravitate to. They're creatures of habit.
"'I scored a hundred here last time, this is where I sat, bang I'm going to go and sit there.' Sportsmen are superstitious.
"I think this is something where they'll probably go, 'I don't want to sit in the same spot as I did for the Test match.'
"To me that would be a moment where they would think back to 'where did I sit when all this s---t fight happened - I'm making a clean break, I'm not sitting there.'
"That sounds really silly but I reckon that would be an actual thing that they would think about and that would bring it all back and they'd want to move on from it."
Julian said he believed that the Australian public were yet to fully fall in love with this team, so deep were the scars left by sandpapergate, but added that under the leadership of Justin Langer and Tim Paine, and with charismatic figures such as Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc involved, that evolution was happening and would eventually become complete.
"I think that will take a lot of time, I don't think it will happen overnight. JL is one that the public really like him and trust him and really think he's doing a really good job and it's changing," Julian said.
The former international said he would never forget the shock and the drama of having to describe the moment live when Cameron Bancroft was captured on camera with the sandpaper.
"It was me, AB (Allan Border) and Graeme Smith on air and they wanted to make damn sure that they'd roll that vision while me and AB were on air," Julian said.
"I remember being on air and because I was the lead commentator, they said (in my ear), 'We're going to throw some pictures, just react to them.'
"Then they just threw it up. Just straight up with no warning and no heads-up.
"I knew what it was straight away … I remember AB and I looking at each other and we were both shaking our heads basically, off air."
Australia blew a chance to clinch the series in the second T20 at Port Elizabeth in the early hours of Monday morning, failing to capitalise on an unbeaten 67 from David Warner.
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