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Australia bowlers deny Johannesburg Test-boycott allegations

Australia Warner
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Cricket Australia has issued a statement on behalf of the bowlers who participated in the Test series in South Africa last year, denying allegations that they had threatened to pull out from the fourth Test if David Warner was allowed to play, following the ball-tampering scandal.

Warner, along with captain Steve Smith, was issued a 12-month suspension by Cricket Australia for his involvement in the infamous incident, which took place during the Newlands Test. Cameron Bancroft, who carried out the act, using sandpaper on the ball and later slipping it down his pants, was given a nine-month suspension.

On Friday, March 29, reports doing the rounds on Fairfax Media outlets claimed that the bowlers – Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon – had threatened to pull out from the fourth Test if Warner was allowed to play. But they’ve strongly condemned the allegations.

“We are extremely disappointed in an article which was first published across Fairfax platforms on March 29, 2019,” read the statement. “The article claims we intended to withdraw from the fourth Test during last year’s tour of South Africa had David Warner been free to play.

“This claim is disappointing on a number of fronts but most importantly because it is false. False claims circulated in the media, such as these, which question our relationship with David are inflammatory and misleading.”

The controversy has erupted at a time when Australia seem to finally be breaking free from the period of turmoil by stringing together victories in ODIs – they’ve now won seven on the trot, including three against India and four in the ongoing series against Pakistan.

They look to be shaping up well ahead of the 2019 World Cup, which gets underway in England on May 30, and the Ashes, which follows shortly thereafter.

“As a team we are all focused on moving forward together,” the statement said, “and helping the Australian Men’s team prepare for the World Cup and the Ashes.”

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