Ball tampering controversy : Cricket Australia has ordered Steven Smith, David Warner – the Captain and Vice-Captain, respectively of the Australian Test Squad for South Africa Tour 2018 and Cameron Bancroft to leave the tour and come back home.
Steven Smith anyway faced a one Test ban from the ICC which he would have served by missing the SA vs Aus 4th Test at Johannesburg, which begins on Friday.
Australia has called up Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns to fly in as their replacements. Wicket keeper Tim Paine, who led the Australian team on Day 4 of the Cape Town Test match, will be the captain for the fourth and final Test.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann has been retained in his role as Steven Smith took all the blame of the ball tampering incident on himself and the leadership group within the team. Steven Smith said that the coaching staff wasn’t aware of the ball tampering plan.
Iain Roy – Cricket Australia head of integrity, Iain Roy, in his investigation into the ball tampering incident, found that Darren Lehmann did not have any prior knowledge of what the players were up to, as far as using an object to change the condition of the ball.
However, Darren Lehmann was found communicating with 12th man Peter Handscomb to send a message to Cameron Bancroft after which the opening batsman removed the yellow-coloured tape from his pocket and hid it inside his underwear.
Meanwhile, the future of Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft remains doubtful. The trio could face a life ban as well going by the huge furore the ball tampering incident has created back in Australia.
There are also reports of deteriorating relations between the Australian players following the ball tampering scandal. A section of the team seems to be betrayed by the actions of the trio of Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, commenting on the ball tampering incident, said: “I think it’s an issue of great proportion because of the standing of cricket in the eyes of the Australian public and, not only that, the Australian cricket team and I think that response is not terribly surprising.
“It’s a reminder of how important the game of cricket is to the Australian cricket fans, and it’s also a reminder to us how important it is to rebuild that confidence and trust and pride in the Australian cricket team going forward.”
Both Steven Smith and David Warner are set to play in next month’s Vivo IPL 2018 in India. Steven Smith has already been replaced with Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane as the Rajasthan Royals Captain.
If Steven Smith and David Warner are suspended by Cricket Australia, then their participation in the Vivo IPL 2018 remains doubtful as the cricket board could cancel their No Objection Certificates due to the disrepute they brought to their country with the ball tampering incident.