March 24, 2020 marks the two-year anniversary of the infamous Newlands ball tampering scandal which had threatened to changed the trajectory of Australian cricket forever. The then national side's captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft were embroiled in one of the biggest scandals to have ever hit Australian cricket. Both Smith and Warner earned 12-month bans and lost their leadership roles within the team.
Australia were taking on South Africa in Cape Town for the third Test of the 2018 four-match Test series which was levelled at 1-1. The series had already been a tense one with several altercations betweent the two teams. David Warner had already been involved in a heated pavilion incident with Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock. According to recent Australian media reports, during the Newlands Test, Warner was subjected to several sledges which attacked his wife. That infuriated Warner so much that he wanted to win the match no matter what and came up with the plan to have team newcomer Cameron Bancroft tamper with the ball. Captain Steve Smith was aware of the happenings but did not pay too much attention to it.
The next day, Bancroft carried a sandpaper in his trousers and tampered the ball when he got the chance. As luck would have it, multiple camera angles caught Bancroft tampering the ball and the whole plan was then revealed. As a consequence of the Newlands ball tampering scandal, Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were immediately banned and head coach Darren Lehmann resigned from his post after the series was over.
Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for 12 months while Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months. After serving his ban, Bancroft made a comeback into the Australian team but could not solidify his place his place in the playing XI. Warner and Smith made comebacks and performed well in the IPL 2019. Later on, they played decent knocks at the 2019 World Cup.
Smith, then went on to win Australia their second consecutive Ashes series with 774 runs. David Warner did not impress in the Ashes but some sublime Test innings later in the year ended up earning him the prestigious Allan Border medal at the 2020 Australian Cricketer Awards. Justin Langer succeeded Darren Lehmann as Australia's head coach, who created a new team led by Tim Paine in the red-ball department and Aaron Finch in the white-ball department.
Pat Cummins is the new Test vice-captain. Steve Smith will be eligible to lead Australia again by the end of March 2020. The entire journey of Australia's redemption has been captured in 'The Test' docuseries on Amazon Prime Video, which released earlier this month. Smith and Warner are likely to captain Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively again if the IPL 2020 takes place.