Australian cricket captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and player Cameron Bancroft have been sent home from the team’s tour of South Africa as they wait to find out their full punishments amid Australia’s ball-tampering scandal.
But Darren Lehmann will not be resigning as coach of the Australian cricket team despite the scandal engulfing the tour as Cricket Australia said an investigation had found he had no prior knowledge of the plan.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, giving a press conference in Johannesburg, said no other players had been involved and that coach Lehmann had not offered to resign.
‘The key finding is that prior knowledge of the ball tampering incident was limited to three players’ – Smith, Warner and Bancroft, said Sutherland today, adding that Tim Paine has been appointed the team’s new captain.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, speaking in Johannesburg, said no other players had been involved and Darren Lehmann had not offered to resign
Australian cricket captain Steve Smith (left) and vice-captain David Warner (right) have been sent home from the tour but are still waiting to find out their sanctions
Sutherland told reporters: ‘On behalf of Cricket Australia I want to apologise to all Australians that these events have taken place, particularly to all the kids that love cricket and idolise the players.
‘We recognise that this issue goes beyond the technical nature of offences and various codes of conduct. It’s about the integrity and reputation of Australian cricket and Australian sport. It’s about whether Australians can feel proud of their national sporting teams.
‘No other players or support staff had prior knowledge and this includes Darren Lehmann who has not resigned from his position and will continue to coach the team under his current contract.
‘This is not in the laws of the game, it is not in the spirit of the game and I am angry and disappointed. It is not a good day for Australian cricket.
‘Once the investigation has been conlcuded in the next 24 hours sanctions will be announced. All three players will leave South Africa tomorrow. We are contemplating significant sanctions in each case.’
Sutherland apologised to Australian fans for the cheating scandal as he said sanctions would be announced for Smith, Warner and Bancroft in the next 24 hours
Coach Darren Lehmann (pictured) will not be resigning as the team’s coach as an investigation found he had no prior knowledge of the ball-tampering plan, Sutherland said
Matthew Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns will replace the three suspended players for the fourth and final Test in the series, which hosts South Africa currently lead 2-1.
Smith and Bancroft came out to make an embarrassing confession to cheating after the third day of the test in Cape Town on Saturday.
Smith said the players’ ‘leadership group’ came up with the plan to tamper with the ball with a piece of yellow adhesive tape and some dirt in an attempt to give the Australian bowlers an advantage.
But Bancroft bungled the plan and was caught on TV cameras doing the tampering and then trying to hide the piece of tape down the front of his trousers.
Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull labelled the incident a ‘shocking affront’ to the country, adding: ‘This cheating is… it is a disgrace. We all know that, it is a terrible disgrace.’
But Sutherland said the PM’s views were just one of hundreds of thousands of views on the ball-tampering matter.
Cameron Bancroft was seen running his hand over the ball, before removing a yellow object from his pocket and placing it down the front of his trousers
Bancroft (pictured) has been sent home from the tour of South Africa along with teammates Smith and Warner as he waits for Cricket Australia to decide his fate
Former England captain Nasser Hussain has said it was ‘inconceivable’ that Lehmann did not know of the plot.
He told Sky Sports: ‘It doesn’t look good on Lehmann either way, really. If he didn’t know, then questions will be asked as to why senior players are going round not telling the coach exactly what is going on.
‘In the dressing rooms I’ve played in, it is inconceivable that the coach wouldn’t know something like this was being dreamt up.’
Former captain Steve Waugh said: ‘I’m deeply troubled by the events in Cape Town. The Australian cricket team has always believed it could win in any situation against any opposition, by playing combative, skilful and fair cricket, driven by our pride in the fabled Baggy Green.
‘I have no doubt the current Australian team continues to believe in this mantra, however some have now failed our culture, making a serious error of judgement in the Cape Town Test match.’