Michael Clarke has responded to the joint-statement issued by the Australian bowlers and has insisted that the quartet, in their ‘smartly-worded statement’, forgot that the accusations were being made by their teammate, Bancroft. Clarke has stuck to his viewpoint that the bowlers ‘knew about it.’.
All hell broke loose after Cameron Bancroft, in an interview with The Guardian, indicated that the Australian bowlers knew that the ball was being tampered with, and the revelations led to many questioning the bowlers’ integrity. In light of accusations being thrown around, the quartet of Mitch Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon issued a joint statement on Monday and insisted in the statement that “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.”
In the statement, the bowlers further claimed that they “did not know a foreign substance was taken onto the field to alter the condition of the ball” and slammed those who insisted that they must have known about the foul-play.
Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke, who last week laughed off suggestions that the bowlers did not know about the tampering, has now responded to the joint-statement and has termed it a ‘smartly-worded statement’. Clarke, however, opined that there were glaring flaws in the statement, which he said failed to take into account the fact that the accusations were being made by two people - Bancroft and David Saker - who are not journalists or ex-players, but were with the Australian side during the time of the incident.
“The one thing that stands out for mine in that statement [is] they forgot how this conversation was brought up,” Clarke said on Sky Sports’ ‘Big Sports Breakfast’ show earlier today.
“It was comments from a teammate Cameron Bancroft who was involved in the situation and then quotes from David Saker who was the bowling coach at the time. After journalists and past players like myself, Adam Gilchrist and Stuart Broad, a current player, had seen what was said and written, a lot of people have made comments.
“I think those guys and Cricket Australia need to remember how this conversation has been brought up so in their statement they should have added where it says: ‘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’ - you probably should have put current teammate who was there at the time and did the crime and bowling coach who was there too. You probably left two people out.
“This statement is very smartly worded and written so I’m not going to sit here and continue to talk about every word in that statement.”
The Australian bowlers’ joint-statement, in particular, attacked the opinions of former cricketers, but Clarke asserted that he believes that more than three people knew what was going on.
“I’ve said what I’ve said. It certainly was not personal towards them. I said what I said because that’s what I believe,” the former Aussie skipper said.
Clarke further hoped for the comments to not alienate Bancroft from the Australian set-up. Bancroft last played for Australia in 2019, in the Ashes, and Clarke hoped for the opener’s controversial comments to not land him in trouble with respect to selection.
“My concern more importantly is for Cameron Bancroft,” Clarke said.
“I hope from his perspective he doesn’t get that big black cross against his name now. I think he would have, knowing Cam, spoken to the bowlers and Cricket Australia to make sure they understood what he was trying to avoid saying has caused this to stir up and hope from his sake he is welcomed back into that team with open arms. If there is more to the story it is coming out.”