Former Aussie captain Michael Clarke has hit back at the Aussie bowlers after their statement calling for an end to the 'rumour-mongering' around the 'sandpaper' saga.
Australia's frontline Test bowlers took a thinly-veiled swipe at Clarke as they issued a joint statement addressing their alleged knowledge of the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.
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Bancroft was caught 'ball-tampering' by the TV umpire in the third Test in Cape Town in 2018 and Cricket Australian banned the opener from international and most domestic cricket for nine-months.
But last week, Bancroft sat down with The Guardian for an interview and was honest and accepted his role in the sandpaper saga.
But he also alleged there could have been "awareness" around what was happening.
On Monday, former Test captain Clarke fanned the flames when he said the bowlers must have known what was going on.
Following the headlines, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, having all played in the infamous match, released a statement "to the Australian public" late on Tuesday via Starc's website.
"It's been disappointing to see that our integrity has been questioned by some journalists and past players," the group wrote.
Clarke hits back at Aussie bowlers statement
Clarke is one of the highest-profile players to express cynicism about the bowlers' lack of knowledge.
The former captain hit back on Wednesday morning via his radio show Big Sports Breakfast.
"They forgot how this conversation was brought up. It was comments from a teammate Cameron Bancroft, who was involved in the situation," Clarke said.
"So in their statement, they should have added ... current teammate who was there at the time and did the crime.
"And bowling coach (David Saker), 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.
"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."
Paine responds to Bancroft comments
Now, Aussie captain Tim Paine has addressed the noise surrounding the event back in 2018.
Paine declared Bancroft, who was dropped after playing two Tests in the 2019 Ashes, would be judged purely on form while pursuing a recall ahead of the Ashes.
"We don't pick too many Test teams on what they say in the media," Paine told reporters in Hobart.
"We pick Test teams on guys scoring runs.
"Bangers had a really good Shield year again.
"He was just caught on the hop a little bit, it happens ... (it) certainly won't be held against him."
Paine also backed his attack's strong statement about the saga.
"The ball wasn't even changed on the field, so there was no damage to it. If the umpires aren't seeing it, I'm not sure what the bowlers are supposed to see," Paine said.
"They're frustrated it keeps popping up.
"That's part and parcel for everyone who played in that Test.
"They've spoken to Bangers, cleared the air."
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