/Bowlers deny knowledge of ball-tampering

Bowlers deny knowledge of ball-tampering

Watch: Bancroft and Smith admit ball-tampering plan

The Australia bowlers who played in the sandpaper Test have denied knowing about the plan to tamper with the ball.

Batsman Cameron Bancroft suggested that some bowlers knew about the plot to use sandpaper against South Africa in Cape Town in 2018.

Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner were banned following the incident.

“We respectfully request an end to the rumour-mongering and innuendo,” Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon said in a statement.

“It has gone on too long and it is time to move on.”

They said they knew sandpaper was on the field only when they saw images on the big screen at the ground, and that the umpires did not change the ball as “there was no sign of damage”.

Asked in an interview with the Guardianexternal-link if the bowlers knew he was tampering with the ball, Bancroft said: “It’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”

Cricket Australia (CA) has since asked him if he has any new information about the scandal.

Bancroft was banned for nine months following a CA investigation, while captain Smith and batsman Warner were banned for a year. All other players and staff cleared.

“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 bowlers said.

“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.”

South Africa won the third Test in Cape Town by 322 runs and the four-match series 3-1.

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