Smith, Warner, Bancroft to leave South Africa; Lehmann stays on as head coach

Steve Smith Cameron Bancroft David Warner leave South Africa ball tampering Australia cricket

Steve Smith (right), Cameron Bancroft and David Warner will return home from South Africa on Wednesday

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Australia captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft will leave South Africa on Wednesday for their involvement in the ball tampering scandal that stunned the cricketing community.

The trio were found guilty of breaching article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct

Smith and Bancroft admitted that they had attempted to alter the condition of the ball on the third day of the third Test against the Proteas in Cape Town.

As a result of their actions, the International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Smith for one Test and fined him 100 percent of his match fee, while Bancroft was docked 75 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points.

With Smith, Warner and Bancroft out, Australia called up Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns as their replacements.

It has also been confirmed that wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine will captain Australia during the fourth Test against South Africa in Johannesburg. Paine stepped in as captain on the fourth day of the third Test, where Australia were demolished by 322 runs.

Meanwhile, there were rumours that head coach Darren Lehmann would step down, but during a press conference, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland made it clear that Lehmann will keep hold of his post as he had no knowledge about the ball tampering incident.

“The key finding is that prior knowledge of the ball tampering incident was limited to three players: Captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft,” Sutherland was quoted as saying by

“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. He will continue to coach the Australian men’s team under his current contract.”

Sutherland added that significant sanctions will be placed on Smith, Warner and Bancroft due to the severity of the incident.

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

“I understand the appetite for urgency given the reputation of Australia as a sporting nation has been damaged in the eyes of many. However, urgency must be balanced with due process given the serious implications for all involved. In addition to sanctions for individuals, Cricket Australia will initiate an independent review into the conduct and culture of our Australian men’s teams.

“We will have more to say about this review in the coming days, but it will be conducted by an expert panel who will report to the Cricket Australia Board.”

Sutherland also admitted that the board will use the issue to “review the culture and conduct of our international teams”.

“If this has damaged the ability of kids to play the game, love the game and idolise their heroes, it is a sorry state and we need to do everything we can to address it,” he said.

Cricket Australia chairman David Peever added: “We understand and share the anger of fans and the broader Australian community about the events that unfolded in Cape Town on Saturday. This issue goes beyond the technical nature of the offences and various codes of conduct.

“It is about the integrity and reputation of Australian Cricket and Australian sport. Ultimately, it is about whether Australians can feel proud of their national sporting teams. That depends as much on the way the players conduct themselves, as it does about winning or losing.”

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