Newlands Bowling Quartet Wants An End To 'rumour-mongering And Innuendo' > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Newlands bowling quartet wants an end to 'rumour-mongering and innuendo'

"It was wrong and it should never have happened" - Joint statement from Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood and Lyon.

"It was wrong and it should never have happened" - Joint statement from Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood and Lyon.

Clearing their stance in an open letter addressed to the Australian public on Tuesday (May 18), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon - the four primary bowlers to feature in the ill-fated sandpaper-gate scandal that came to light during the Newlands Test in 2018 in South Africa - have rebutted recent charges that the bowling group was in full knowledge of the ball being tampered with.

"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, requesting the need to put an end to baseless "rumour-mongering and innuendo".

"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.

In a recent interview to The Guardian, Cameron Bancroft, one of the three Australian players banned as a result of the saga, said that since his actions directly benefitted the bowling group, the awareness around his act was 'self-explanatory'.

"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. His views were corroborated by past players like Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke.

Bancroft was banned for nine months for his role in the scandal while the then captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner served one-year bans. A review conducted during the tour by Cricket Australia's then head of integrity, Iain Roy, had cleared the rest of the players from any wrongdoing, but the board had then indicated that it would be happy to revisit if any new evidence were to come to light.

Reacting to his interview, 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.

"Our integrity unit reached out to Cam off the back of the media report and asked him directly whether he had any new information since the original investigation, and he's come back and confirmed overnight that he has no new information," Nick Hockley, CA's interim CEO told cricket.com.au. "So we thank Cam for confirming that."

However, Bancroft's recent interview led to various presumptive talks, mainly by former Australian captains, forcing the bowling group to publically send out a strongly worded text.

On Monday (May 17), Ben Olivier, CA's Executive General Manager of National Team, had confirmed through an online media conference that a detailed investigation was conducted into the sandpaper gate incident and everyone who had been involved in the (national men's) team had worked incredibly hard to rebuild confidence and ultimately aspire to make Australians proud of the Australian cricket team.

Full text of the joint statement:

To The Australian Public,

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.

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.

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.

Regards,

Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon