Cricket Australia (CA) completed its preliminary internal investigation into the ball tampering scandal that broke out during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town and has officially reported Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for breaching article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct. All three players reported will depart South Africa on Wednesday. However, Darren Lehmann will continue to as head coach of the team.
Addressing the media in a press conference at Johannesburg, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said, “The key finding is that prior knowledge was limited to three players, Steve Smith, David Warner, Cameron Bancroft. No other players or members of the support had prior knowledge. This also includes Darren Lehmann, who will continue to coach the team.”
“Winning is important, but not at the expense of the game. This is a serious issue. We will complete the process and will be in a position to finalise more sanctions once the investigation is complete. In the next 24 hours we will be in a position to announce sanctions,” he added.
— ANI (@ANI) 27 March 2018
“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 concluded. Sutherland also stated that there are “certain grounds” on players receiving No Objection Certificate certificates to play in the upcoming Indian Premier League and the sanctions may have an effect on them.
CA Chief James Sutherland, who had arrived in South Africa on Tuesday, made the announcement as the probe reached a conclusion with team performance head Pat Howard and integrity chief Iain Roy submitting their reports.
This was after Australia opener Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera using a yellow tape with rough granules on it to roughen up one side of the ball during the third Test. In a press conference after the day’s play, Steve Smith admitted that senior players had conspired with Bancroft to tamper with the ball.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had already announced its verdict – suspending Steve Smith for one Test and deducting 100 per cent of his match fee. Smith and David Warner were stripped off their roles as captain and vice captain of Australia for the remainder of the third Test against South Africa. Smith has also stepped down as captain of Rajasthan Royals for the 2018 season. Bancroft was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and awarded three demerit points. Interim captain Tim Paine will lead the Kangaroos in the fourth Test at Johannesburg. With Smith, Warner and Bancroft headed home, Australia have included Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns, and Glenn Maxwell in the squad.