Australian Bowlers Deny Prior Knowledge Of 2018 Ball-Tampering Plan, Say "Our Integrity Has Been Questioned" In Joint Statement
In a joint statement, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon denied any knowledge about the ball-tampering incident during the 2018 Cape Town Test after Cameron Bancroft had said last week that bowlers knowing about the plan was "self-explanatory."
- Australian bowlers denied prior knowledge of 2018 ball-tampering incident
- Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon issued statement
- "Our integrity has been questioned," said the bowlers
Australian bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon released a joint statement on Tuesday explaining their stand on the recent resurfacing of the 2018 ball-tampering controversy. Australia opener Cameron Bancroft had said in an interview last week that it's "self-explanatory" whether the bowlers knew about the plan to alter the condition of the ball on Day 3 of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in 2018. Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner have served bans imposed by Cricket Australia for their involvement in ball tampering.
Published on Mitchell Starc's website, the statement read as follows:
"To The Australian Public
We pride ourselves on our honesty. So it's been disappointing to see that our integrity has been questioned by some journalists and past players in recent days in regard to the Cape Town Test of 2018.
We have already answered questions many times on this issue, but we feel compelled to put the key facts on the record again:
We did not know a foreign substance was taken onto the field to alter the condition of the ball until we saw the images on the big screen at Newlands.
And to those who, despite the absence of evidence, insist that 'we must have known' about the use of a foreign substance simply because we are bowlers, we say this: The umpires during that Test match, Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth, both very respected and experienced umpires, inspected the ball after the images surfaced on the TV coverage and did not change it because there was no sign of damage.
None of this excuses what happened on the field that day at Newlands. It was wrong and it should never have happened.
We've all learned valuable lessons and we'd like to think the public can see a change for the better in terms of the way we play, the way we behave and respect the game. Our commitment to improving as people and players will continue.
We respectfully request an end to the rumour-mongering and innuendo.
It has gone on too long and it is time to move on."
In an interview with The Guardian, Bancroft had spoken about the infamous incident from more than three years ago when he was caught on camera using sandpaper to change the condition of the ball and then slip the sandpaper down his trousers when the visuals were played on the big screen at the Newlands stadium.
"Yeah, look, all I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part. Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory," Bancroft told The Guardian when asked whether any of the bowlers knew about the plan.
On being pressed further, Bancroft said: "Uh ... yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it's pretty probably self-explanatory."