Steve Smith sent home in disgrace, Darren Lehmann survives
Smith and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, the player caught on camera attempting to doctor the ball with a piece of tape, have been banished for their role in an incident which has dragged Australian cricket’s reputation through the mud.
Vice-captain David Warner was also sent packing, amid reports of a massive falling out between him and the team’s fast bowlers who feel they have been unfairly linked to the row.
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine will take over the captaincy for the fourth and final Test starting in Johannesburg Friday, with hosts South Africa leading a bad-tempered series 2-1.
Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns are jetting to South Africa as replacements.
TIMELINE: How ball-tampering saga led to suspension of Smith, Warner, Bancroft
But coach Darren Lehmann escaped punishment and will remain in charge, team management said in Johannesburg, with further sanctions on the three players to be announced shortly.
“I understand and share the anger and disappointment of Australian fans,” Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said of the controversy in the third Test in Cape Town last Saturday.
“On behalf of Cricket Australia, I want to apologise to all Australians that these events have taken place, especially to all the kids.”
Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Alistair Nicholson said serious mistakes had been made by Smith and his co-accused, and they understood this.
“The players are remorseful for the mistakes they have made. And they regret how their actions have represented themselves, teammates, cricket and their country,” he said.
Smith, in particular, is reportedly distraught and support is being offered to help him cope.
“The ACA is providing legal and welfare support to all players. Welfare of all players is a highly relevant consideration,” said Nicholson.
Smith had already been suspended for one Test and docked his entire match fee by the International Cricket Council, and Sutherland said further punishments “will reflect the gravity of the situation”.
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 said after the Test that the Australians’ “leadership group” had been aware of the plan.
However, Sutherland insisted Lehmann was not aware of the plot.
“Prior knowledge of the ball tampering incident was limited to three players… No other players or support staff had prior knowledge and this includes Darren Lehmann, who despite inaccurate media reports, has not resigned from his position,” said Sutherland.
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke, the man Smith succeeded in 2015, believes there is more to the story that meets the eye.
“Too many reputations on the line for the full story not to come out. Cape Town change room is a very small place!” he tweeted.
SOURCE – TOI
‘Only three people knew… my a***’: World reacts to Cricket Australia’s decision not to sack coach Darren Lehmann after claiming he knew NOTHING about the ball-tampering scandal – and even Karl Stefanovic has a go!
Another former England captain, Kevin Pietersen, tweeted: ‘Lehmann never knew,’ accompanied by 100 laughing and Pinocchio emojis.
Smith initially said the ‘leadership group’ were aware that Bancroft would attempt to tamper with the ball after lunch during day three of the third Test in Cape Town.
‘Cam Bancroft must be captaincy material… In the Leadership group in only his 7th Test!’ Vaughan added.
‘Me thinks the Hole has just got a little deeper & bigger for Cricket Australia.’
SOURCE – DAILYMAIL