Australia bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have reiterated they knew nothing about a ‘foreign substance being taken on to the field of play’ in the infamous 2018 ‘Sandpapergate’.
The story recently re-entered the spotlight when Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft spoke out about the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town, saying he believes more players were aware of the plan to use sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball.
In an interview with the UK Guardian, Bancroft hinted that some of the bowlers on the pitch had to know about the orchestrated plan of action.
‘Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,’ he commented.
In a statement addressed ‘to the Australian public’, Australia’s bowling unit from that Test sought to clear the air once again.
‘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 on to 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.’
How can this still be going on 3 years later!! Surely every player must have been interviewed? Surely the bowlers must have known? How then can only 3 players be sanctioned?? https://t.co/Rvn0Vsfhv0
— Michael Bevan (@mbevan12) May 17, 2021