Australia bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have again denied any complicity in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal after Cameron Bancroft suggesting they were involved.
Bancroft was banned for nine months after being caught using sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during a Test match against South Africa at Cape Town.
Then-captain Steve Smith was sacked and received a one-year suspension along with vice-skipper David Warner, although the rest of the team were cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal investigation.
But many former players have accused Australia’s bowlers of being complicit, and Bancroft this week said their involvement was ‘probably self-explanatory’.
Cricket Australia have since approached Bancroft to see if he any new information about the sandpaper scandal, but the four-match bowling unit have denied any wrongdoing.
In a collective statement addressed to ‘the Australian public’, Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon said: ‘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.’
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