Sport Cricket Steve Smith, David Warner, Cameron Bancroft sent home, face ‘significant sanctions’

Steve Smith, David Warner, Cameron Bancroft sent home, face ‘significant sanctions’

Ball tampering Steve Smith
The Australian captain will learn his fate in the next 24 hours. Photo: AAP
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Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been sent home from South Africa in disgrace after being named as the only players involved in the cricket cheating scandal.

CEO James Sutherland told a media conference early Wednesday morning (AEDT) that “significant sanctions” against the three would be handed down within 24 hours.

Sutherland said Darren Lehmann would remain as coach for the fourth Test starting Friday and Tim Paine has been officially endorsed as the new Australian captain.

“No other players or support staff had prior knowledge [to the ball tampering],” Sutherland said.

“This includes Darren Lehmann, who despite inaccurate media reports, has not resigned from his position,” he added.

“He [Lehmann] will continue to coach the Australian men’s team under his current contract (which runs until the end of the 2019 Ashes).”

Ball Tampering James Sutherland
Sutherland said Lehmann was not aware of the tampering plan. Photo: AAP

Sutherland said punishments for former captain Smith, former vice-captain Warner and opener Bancroft would be announced once CA’s investigation was concluded.

“These sanctions will reflect the gravity with which we view what has occurred and the damage it has done to Australian cricket,” he said.

“I am angry and disappointed. It is not a good day for Australian cricket.”

The three players have been officially reported for breaching article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct, which includes conduct contrary to the spirit of the game, unbecoming of a representative, harmful to the interests of the game and bringing the game into disrepute.

Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell are en route to South Africa as replacement players for the fourth Test that starts Friday.

Sutherland stressed the need to follow due process in the investigation before announcing punishments.

“I fully understand the appetite for urgency for more detail, however urgency must be balanced with due process given the serious implications for all involved,” he said.

The initial CA response did little to quell the anger felt by many cricket fans, with former captain Michael Clarke taking to social media to express his outrage.

Smith confessed on Sunday morning that he authorised premeditated cheating on day three of the third Test against South Africa, by using sticky tape in an illegal attempt to change the condition of the ball.

Batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera using the tape while working on the ball in the post-lunch session, then attempted to hide it from umpires by concealing in his pants.

Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported Tuesday that Lehmann had resigned his position with immediate effect.

Sutherland said that in addition to sanctions for the individuals involved, CA will initiate an independent review into the “conduct and culture of our Australian men’s teams”.

“The review will be an important step in rebuilding and restoring your pride in our men’s teams,” he said.

“Our teams have a responsibility as role models to ensure they uphold the values Australians expect, and to inspire us through the way they play.”

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