Australian bowlers deny boycott threat over David Warner’s role in ball-tampering scandal

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Australian bowlers deny boycott threat over David Warner’s role in ball-tampering scandal

Four Australia bowlers have denied reports they were prepared to boycott a Test match if David Warner had been cleared to play following the ball-tampering scandal.

Spinner Nathan Lyon and pace bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood all denied the Sydney Morning Herald's claim they intended to sit out the final Test of the South Africa series last year following the incident in Cape Town.

Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft were all eventually suspended due to their roles in the plan to manipulate the ball using sandpaper during last March's third Test.

A joint statement from the bowling quartet read: "We are extremely disappointed in an article which was first published across Fairfax platforms on March 29, 2019.

"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.

"As a team we are all focused on moving forward together and helping the Australian men's team prepare for the World Cup and the Ashes."

Warner and Smith are free to return to the international stage after serving their one-year bans, while Bancroft has completed his nine-month suspension and will captain Durham in this season's County Championship.

PA