James Faulkner has clarified what many fans deemed to be a ‘coming out’ post.

The Australian cricket star took to Instagram on his birthday to share a photo of himself with his mother and a male friend who he referred to as his “boyfriend”, later using a hashtag that suggested they’d been together for five years.

“Birthday dinner with the boyfriend @robjubbsta and my mother #togetherfor5years,” he captioned the photo (which has since been edited).

Following an outpouring of support from fans and fellow sports personalities, as well as members of the LGBTQ community, Faulkner clarified to his 340,000 followers that he isn’t gay, and that the man in the photo is actually just a good friend.

“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 wrote in a new post, highlighting the positive reaction his post got.

“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.”

James also edited the caption on his original post to clarify that the man is his “best mate” and not his boyfriend.

Before the misunderstanding was cleared up, James received support from Australian cricketer Glenn Maxwell, who said he had “great courage” in a comment, and Shaun Tait, who wrote: “Great courage mate, bet u feel better.”

Cricket Australia have since released a statement apologising for “any unintended offence” caused by the post, and clarified that it was not intended to be a “joke” at the expense of the LGBTQ community.

“Cricket Australia does not consider the social commentary this morning from James Faulkner to be a joke, nor does James,” the statement reads.

“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 and, though the support from the community was overwhelming and positive.

“Cricket Australia apologises for any unintended offence.”