IT WAS the scandal that shamed Australian cricket but that hasn’t stopped Richard Blakey from rubbing the Aussies noses in it.
The former Yorkshire and England wicketkeeper has landed the first blow of the Ashes summer by printing tickets to his eve-of-Headingley Test dinner on… sandpaper.
Former Australia captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft were suspended for their part in applying sandpaper to the ball during a Test match against South Africa in Cape Town last year.
Coach Darren Lehmann, the former Yorkshire batsman, quit in the wake of the scandal.
Ironically, Lehmann is part of Blakey’s Ashes Icons event at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on August 21 - the day before the third Test at Headingley.
Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Michael Atherton, plus fast bowler and current Yorkshire Post columnist Darren Gough, will also be giving their expert opinions.
Blakey, who played for Yorkshire from 1985 to 2003, and represented England in both Tests and one-day internationals, admitted his decision to poke fun at “sandpaper-gate” was aimed at igniting the Ashes flames.
“The sporting rivalry between England and Australia is huge, and the Ashes brings it to the fore in a way that no other sport can come close to matching,” he said.
“And yes, I know it’s a bit cheeky to revel in someone else’s misfortune, but I decided to print my Ashes Icons tickets on sandpaper knowing that had the offending strip of sandpaper been filmed being hurriedly stuffed down an English players whites, then every single Australian would have jumped at the chance to do the exact same thing.”
For details on the Ashes Icons dinner, visit: http://richardblakeyleisure.co.uk/events/ashes-icons-2019