David Warner, Steve Smith, and Cameron Bancroft to leave South Africa, replacements named
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has announced that all the three players involved in the Sandpaper Gate scandal - Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will not play the fourth and last Test match against South Africa, which starts in Johannesburg on 30th March. Tim Paine will lead the side in the full-time captain and vice captain's absence.
The trio will be travelling back home.
Glenn Maxwell, Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns have been named as replacements for the above-mentioned players. Moreover, the air surrounding Darren Lehmann's capacity as the coach of Australian Cricket Team was cleared as well. The former Australian international will continue as the coach and will see out his contract.
CA chief Sutherland clarified that sanctions on the three players will be announced later after the investigation is complete. He went on to assure that penalties will be "significant", signalling that considerable bans will be imposed on the players involved.
"This is not in the laws of the game. not in the spirit of the game. I am angry and disappointed. Not a good day for Australian cricket," Sutherland said.
Though it's not yet clear if only Smith, Warner and Bancroft exclusively formed the 'leadership group', it looks highly unlikely that other players will be dragged in the fiasco as well.
Reports had earlier emerged that Warner was at the centre of the decision and a report by Fairfax on the tampering fiasco read, "Those in the hierarchy at CA have been made aware of suggestions that the vice-captain was the chief conspirator and that Smith foolishly agreed.“Sources close to Warner, however, deny that he was the instigator.
“Others close to the Australian dressing room are adamant that the blame should not rest with one or two individuals and that the whole team and set-up around it should take the fall.
“Warner has been the team’s primary ball manager on the ground in recent times but Bancroft, playing in only his eighth Test, took on those duties at Newlands.”
Reportedly, the Australian players wanted Warner out of the team hotel.