Cricket Australia findings throw doubt on Smith 'leadership group' claims

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.

Bancroft's use of tape to alter the condition of the ball in the third Test against South Africa has made worldwide headlines and attracted strong and widespread criticism, including from Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

"On behalf of Cricket Australia, I want to apologise to all Australians that these events have taken place, especially to all the kids".

"It's about the integrity and reputation of Australian cricket and whether Australians can feel proud of their national teams".

Explaining the incident on day three of the Test, Smith claimed the "players and the leadership group" had come up with the scheme, which led to speculation regarding the make-up of the team's band of senior players. They will be told of their "significant" Cricket Australia code of behaviour sanctions within 24 hours.

"Tim Paine has been officially appointed captain of the Australian men's team".

The pre-meditated attempt to cheat has drawn condemnation from around the world, with ball-tampering a serious breach of the International Cricket Council's code of conduct.

"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".

Australia named Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns as replacements for the fourth Test in Johannesburg starting on Friday.

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Warner, one of the alleged ringleaders of the plot to change the condition of the ball during the third Test against South Africa, was seen drinking champagne in a hotel bar in Cape Town, leaving teammates "outraged".

"From the Prime Minister down there have been views and opinions expressed, and that's a measure and indication of the standing of the game of cricket and the Australian cricket team in the eyes of the Australian public and everyone is entitled to those opinions", Sutherland said.

Australia's David Warner, is seated on the team bus after the arrival of the Australian team to OR Tambo International International airport in Johannesburg.

Captain Steve Smith, the other architect, has already been banned for one match by the ICC while the possibility of a life-time ban for Smith and Warner from the CA has also been mooted by a rabid Australian media. These will reflect the gravity of the offences and the damage done to Australian cricket.

Fairfax reported on Tuesday that vice-captain Warner was the ringleader in the plan to illegally tamper with the ball.

Lehmann has remained silent since the furore, but Britain's Daily Telegraph said he had chose to quit, effective immediately, meaning he too will play no part in the Test.

Lehmann will not resign as coach, despite reports overnight.

The axe was hanging over the head of Australian coach Darren Lehmann and skipper Steve Smith Tuesday with cricket chiefs holding crisis talks in South Africa to deal with an escalating cheating scandal.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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