Australia bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood said they were not aware of ball being tampered during the infamous third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in 2018.
Cummins, Starc, Lyon and Hazlewood were the bowlers in that Test and the four released a joint statement on Tuesday amid rising speculation over their awareness of the tactic which eventually led to bans on Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner.
“We did not know a foreign substance was taken onto the field to alter the condition of the ball until we saw images on the big screen at Newlands,” said the players in the statement.
“And to those who, despite the evidence, insist that ‘we must have known’ about the use of the foreign substance simply because we are bowlers, we say this: The umpires during that Test match, Nigel Long and Richard Illingworth, both very respected and experienced umpires, inspected the ball after images surfaced on the TV coverage and did not change it because there was no sign of damage,” they further said.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Bancroft indicated that the bowlers knew about tampering. This was followed by former Australia captain Michael Clarke saying that bowlers had to know about what was happening to the ball.
“We respectfully request an end to the rumour-mongering and innuendo. It has gone for too long and it is time to move on,” the four bowlers further said in their statement.
“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,” they said.