Cricket Australia Sends Smith, Warner and Bancroft Home, ‘Significant Sanctions’ Expected

Even though Cricket Australia’s investigation into the ball-tampering saga from the third Test against South Africa is not complete, James Sutherland has announced that the troika of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will be sent back home on Wednesday.

The sanction against the trio was announced based on preliminary investigations. Sutherland, who had flown into Johannesburg just hours earlier to get to the bottom of the scandal, said at a packed news conference. “Prior knowledge of the plan in question was with Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft only. No one knew about the plan other than these three. Darren Lehmann the coach was not in the knowhow and will continue as the coach of the team. All three players will be sent back to Australia on Wednesday and their replacements will come in within 24 hours,” Sutherland stated.

“Darren Lehmann has not resigned or offered to step down as the coach of the team, and will continue in the capacity of coach with the team.”

Sutherland, who began his press briefing in Johannesburg with heartfelt apologies to the Australian and South African cricketing fraternity and the rest of the world has promised that after Cricket Australia’s probe is completed ‘significant sanctions’ will be announced within the next 24 hours. Sutherland, on his part has promised a thorough probe into the scandal before further decisions are announced.

On behalf of Cricket Australia, I want to apologise to all Australians that these events have taken place, especially to all the kids.” He added: “I want to also apologise to Cricket South Africa and South African fans that this issue has overshadowed what should have been a great series.”

“In view of the broader reputational and integrity issues involved, the sanctions that will be contemplated are significant. The process must be balanced therefore thorough to ensure that all relevant issues have been examined.”

Bancroft used a strip of yellow sticky tape he had covered with dirt granules to illegally scratch the rough side of the ball, in an attempt to generate more swing for Australia’s bowlers.

He was filmed not only rubbing the ball with the dirtied tape but also concealing the evidence down the front of his trousers.

Smith has already been suspended for one Test and docked his entire match fee by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for his role in the affair.

Sutherland further added that the Australian team, who are still to play one Test match at Johannesburg where they can save the series by winning the contest, will be led by Tim Paine.

“Matthew Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns are the three replacements for the squad till the end of the tour and they will join the squad within the next 24 hours,” Sutherland told reporters present at the briefing.

Sutherland, who accepted that this is a rather dark day in the history of Australian cricket, added that the integrity officer of Cricket Australia Iain Roy feels that this is nothing more than an isolated incident. The CEO though, acknowledged that it does not set the best example and that it is very important to rectify that.

“Winning is important but it cannot be done at the cost of the rules.”

“The spirit of cricket is extremely important and it is the duty of every player to uphold the spirit of the game.”

“The response from the public is not terribly surprising. It’s a reminder of how important the game is to Australian fans,” he signed off.

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