Australia all-rounder James Faulkner has described speculation over his sexuality following posts on social media as a "misunderstanding".
The 29-year-old appeared to suggest he was in a same-sex relationship when he shared a picture on Instagram and Twitter of himself alongside his mother and a man he described as his "boyfriend".
The photo was captioned: "Birthday dinner with the boyfriend @robjubbsta and my mother @roslyn_carol_faulkner #togetherfor5years."
Fans and fellow sports stars rushed to praise him, with Glenn Maxwell replying to the post with the message "great courage", and Shaun Tait saying: "Great courage mate, bet u feel better."
But it later emerged that the posts had been misinterpreted, with Faulkner confirming on his Instagram account that he was not gay.
"There seems to be a misunderstanding about my post from last night, I am not gay, however it has been fantastic to see the support from and for the LBGT community," he said.
"Let's never forget love is love, however @robjubbsta is just a great friend. Last night marked five years of being house mates! Good on everyone for being so supportive."
His original post was edited to include "best mate!!!" in his description of Mr Jubb, who is also said to be Faulkner's business partner.
Cricket Australia released a statement after the post gained wide-spread attention, apologising for "any unintended offence".
"Cricket Australia does not consider the social commentary this morning from James Faulkner to be a joke, nor does James," the statement said.
"His comment was made as a genuine reflection of his relationship with his business partner, best friend and house mate of five years. He was not contacted for clarification before some outlets reported his Instagram post as an announcement of a homosexual relationship.
"James and CA are supportive of the LGBQTI community and recognises coming out can be an incredibly emotional time.
"The post was not in any way meant to make light of this... Cricket Australia apologises for any unintended offence."
Faulkner, man of the match in the 2015 One-Day World Cup final when Australia beat New Zealand, has played 67 one-day internationals for Australia after making his debut against the West Indies in 2013.
Faulkner will play for Lancashire in the Vitality Blast this summer and made his only Test appearance for Australia against England in the 2013 Ashes series, playing in the fifth test at the Oval, which ended in a draw.
Somerset's Steven Davies became the first professional cricketer to come out as gay when he did so in a newspaper interview in 2011.