Newlands ball-tampering – Cummins Starc Hazlewood Lyon want ‘rumour-mongering and innuendo’ to stop | Cricket

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“It has gone on too long and it is time to move on” © Getty Images

Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have reiterated that they did not know anything about “a foreign substance being taken onto the field of play to alter the condition of the ball” at the Newlands Test of 2018. In a statement addressed “to the Australian public”, Australia’s bowling unit from that Test – that sparked an Australian ball-tampering controversy that is yet to fully die down – said they became aware of the fact only when “we saw the images on the big screen”.

“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,” the statement read. “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.


“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”

“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.”

The statement follows an interview in the Guardian in which one of the players who served a ban following the incident, Cameron Bancroft, said that it was “self-explanatory” that the bowlers – none of whom were part of the trio to receive punishments, the other two being Steven Smith and David Warner – had to know the ball was being tampered with.

Since then, former Australia captains Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist have offered their views on the issue, with Clarke saying he suspected more people knew what was going on, and Gilchrist suggesting that the incident had not been investigated thoroughly by Cricket Australia.

More to follow…

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