Melbourne:The four Australia bowlers who played in the 'Sandpapergate' test against South Africa rebutted recent charges that the bowling group was in full knowledge of the ball tampering and called for "an end to the rumour-mongering and innuendo" surrounding them.
In a recent interview to The Guardian, Cameron Bancroft, one of the three Australian players banned for scuffing the ball during the Newlands Test in 2018 in South Africa with a piece of sandpaper, lit the fuse last week saying that since his actions directly benefitted the bowling group, the awareness around his act was 'self-explanatory'.
"Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory," the batsman told the Guardian.
"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 had said.
Reacting to his interview, Cricket Australia (CA) had reached out to Bancroft and asked him to share any new information regarding the events that unfolded in Newlands.
In accordance, Bancroft is understood to have emailed his response stating that he didn't have any new information to be shared and he was happy with the manner in which the matter was investigated and was satisfied with the eventual outcome.
In response, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon - Australia's four bowlers, who featured during the infamous Test on Tuesday issued a statement saying they were disappointed to see their integrity "questioned by some journalists and past players in recent days".
They re-affirmed that they knew nothing of the plot to tamper with the ball until it was publicly brought to light.
"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," the bowlers wrote in a joint statement.
"And 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," the statement added.
Meanwhile, former Australia captain Michael Clarke expressed incredulity that the bowlers would not have known about the ball tampering.
"A team like that, at the highest level, when the ball is such an important part of the game … I don't think anybody is surprised that more than three people knew about it," Clarke said on his Sydney radio program.
"If you are playing sport at the highest level you know your tools that good it's not funny.
Can you imagine that ball being thrown back to the bowler and the bowler not knowing about it? Please,'' he added.(UNI)