“Disappointing to see our integrity questioned” – Australian bowlers release statement on Sandpapergate controversy

Australian bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon came up with an official statement on the former's website.

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Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins
Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins

The Sandpapergate controversy has been once again in the news due to opener Cameron Bancroft’s statements hinting that the Australian bowlers were aware of the incident. The controversy happened in 2018 in the Cape Town test between the Aussies and South Africa and despite the fact that it has been three years since the dark day in Australian cricket history, it still continues to divide opinion.

The recent revival in discussions is largely due to Bancroft‘s statements saying that it was ‘self-explanatory’ when asked if the Aussie bowlers knew of the ball tampering which was going on using sandpaper. Since then, a plethora of experts and cricketers have started talking about it, stating that Cricket Australia should take action against all those who were aware.

Aussie bowlers release statement on Sandpapergate

Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc
Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc

The Australian bowling attack – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon came up with a joint statement today on Starc’s website saying, “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.”

Summing up their previous statements, they wrote, “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.”

Signing off, they said, “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.”

Although the statements will put an end to discussions for now, the day is still bound to be talked of and debated for a long time.

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