Australia’s cricket team has arrived at Cape Town airport led by disgraced cheaters David Warner, Steve Smith and embattled coach Darren Lehmann.
Warner and Smith joined the team flying out to Johannesburg despite the fact they will not play in the fourth test because of their roles in the ball tampering scandal.
Vice captain Warner, who appeared to smirk as he got into an elevator, refused to take questions from reporters at the airport.
Their arrival at the airport ahead of the next match comes as Warner faces growing pressure to quit the team for his part in the scandal.
Vice captain David Warner, who appeared to smirk as he got into an elevator, refused to take questions from reporters at the airport
Lehmann could face the axe later today after meeting with Cricket Australia executives including chief James Sutherland
David Warner, pictured at the airport in Cape Town, could be left out of the fourth Test as a result of his role in the incident
Teammates, particularly Australia’s bowlers, are said to have accused him of ‘going rogue’ since the scandal broke.
Warner, who is in South Africa with his wife Candice and two children, is reported to have drunk Champagne with ‘non-cricket mates’ after the scandal broke and is said to have removed himself from the team’s WhatsApp group.
Both him and Smith could face year-long bans, but the chances of them returning to the side are growing slimmer.
Lehmann could face the axe later today after meeting with Cricket Australia executives including chief James Sutherland.
Steve Smith also arrived at the airport ahead of travelling to Johannesburg for the final Test despite being banned
Coach Darren Lehmann arrived at Cape Town International airport under a police escort as they traveled to Johannesburg
Cameron Bancroft, at the centre of the ball-tampering storm, is pictured in front of fast bowler Mitchell Starc
Warner has ‘gone rogue’ according to reports in Australia after the ball-tampering saga that has engulfed the side
Warner has emerged as the central figure in an episode that has embarrassed Australian cricket and brought widespread condemnation.
Fox Sports claim the disgraced batsman, set to be left out of the team for the final Test, has outraged team-mates by ‘swilling champagne in the bar of the team hotel with non-cricket mates’.
Several of them, described as ‘furious’ want him ‘removed’ from the hotel on the Cape Town waterfront.
They also report that Warner removed himself from a WhatsApp group between the players and has ‘gone rogue’ after the story broke over the weekend.
Captain Steve Smith admitted that Australia deliberately attempted to change the condition of the ball during play on the third day of the third Test.
Cameron Bancroft was caught by TV cameras rubbing sticky yellow tape on the ball, with Smith admitting afterwards it was a premeditated move by ‘the leadership group’.
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
Team-mates of Warner, pictured alongside wife Candice in January 2017, reportedly want him out of the hotel
Cameron Bancroft, pictured with his girlfriend, is likely to escape without a ban despite tampering with the ball during the South Africa test
Steve Smith, pictured with his fiancee and his father, took the rap to begin with but sources are suggesting Warner orchestrated the plan to cheat
HOW THE CHEATING SCANDAL UNFOLDED
The ball-tampering incident took place during the Saturday afternoon session in Cape Town and was picked up by TV cameras.
A small, yellow object was seen in batsman Cameron Bancroft’s hands after he had worked on the ball, the opener later revealing it to be a piece of tape covered in dirt.
He was later captured taking it from his pocket and placing it down his trousers, a few moments after being spoken to by the substitute Peter Handscomb, who had come onto the field after speaking to coach Darren Lehmann via walkie-talkie.
Although the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong of England, questioned Bancroft at the time, he produced what appeared to be a black sunglasses bag from his right pocket in way of explanation, in a bid to deceive the officials.
‘Once I was sighted on the big screens I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers,’ said Bancroft.
No action was taken at the time — the umpires could have changed the ball or docked Australia runs — but match officials, including referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, were able to review TV footage of the incident.
But after the day’s play, captain Steve Smith and Bancroft admitted the ball-tampering in a press conference.
Bancroft revealed: ‘We had a discussion during the (lunch) break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition — it didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball.’
Smith continued: ‘It was a poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren’t involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this.
‘We saw this game as such an important game. We’ve seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn’t seem like it was going to go. It’s such poor actions. Deeply regrettable.’
Australia were thrashed by 322 runs and find themselves 2-1 down in the four-match series ahead of the final Test, starting on Friday.
Smith and Warner are both facing lengthy bans from the team with Cricket Australia chiefs in South Africa leading an investigation into the incident.
Smith was handed a one-match suspension by the ICC and is set to be stripped of the captaincy.
Chief executive James Sutherland landed in South Africa on Tuesday morning and will hear the outcome of a probe into Saturday’s incident from team performance head Pat Howard and integrity chief Iain Roy after the pair spent Monday in Cape Town interviewing the players.
Cricket Australia will announce the punishments on Tuesday at a news conference in Johannesburg, where the team will arrive earlier in the day to prepare for the fourth Test.
The position of coach Darren Lehmann also hangs in the balance despite Smith’s denial of any involvement by the coach.
HOW FORMER SOUTH AFRICA CAPTAIN FANIE DE VILLERS HELPED SNARE THE CHEATING AUSTRALIANS
De Villiers said he knew something was up given how early they got the ball to reverse swing
De Villiers has been working for a broadcaster in South Africa for the Test series and claimed he knew something untoward could have been going on by how early the tourists were getting the ball to reverse swing.
Ultimately his suspicions were proved correct when, after searching for an hour-and-a-half, the cameras spotted Cameron Bancroft rubbing sticky yellow tape on the ball in an attempt to alter its condition.
‘I said earlier on, that if they could get reverse swing in the 26th, 27th, 28th over then they are doing something different from what everyone else does,’ de Villiers told RSN Radio on Monday.
‘We actually said to our cameramen, ”go out (and) have a look, boys. They’re using something”.
‘They searched for an hour-and-a-half until they saw something and then they started following Bancroft and they actually caught him out at the end.
‘It’s impossible for the ball to get altered like that on cricket wickets where we knew there was grass on, not a Pakistani wicket where there’s cracks every centimetre.
‘We’re talking about a grass-covered wicket where you have to do something else to alter the shape, to alter the roughness of the ball on the one side. You have to get the one side wetter, heavier than the other side.’
A damning graphic showed how the ball reversed in Cape Town while Bancroft tampered with the ball but stopped when his actions were exposed.