Ball tampering trio face 'significant sanctions', Lehmann stays as cricket coach

Cricket Australia revealed only Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft had prior knowledge of the ball-tampering plan in the third Test against South Africa and the trio would be sent home immediately.

Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were facing "significant sanctions" and would be sent home today in his first official announcement since an investigation was launched into the ball-tampering saga.

The trio have admitted to concocting a plan involving Cameron Bancroft using yellow tape to deliberately scruff the ball during the third Test against South Africa.

"No other players or support staff had prior knowledge," Mr Sutherland told a packed media conference in Johannesburg.

Cameron Bancroft caught with yellow tape.
Source: Fox Sports

"The players involved have officially been reported for breaching Cricket Australia's code of conduct," he added.

"I want to stress we are contemplating significant sanctions. These will reflect the gravity of the offences and the damage done to Australian cricket.

"We want to re-engage with Australian cricket fans and public to restore respect and pride."

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.
Source: AAP

Mr Sutherland said coach Darren Lehmann would not resign, contrary to media reports.

"He will continue to coach the Australian men's team under his current contract," Mr Sutherland said.

Cricket Australia has officially reported Smith, Warner and Bancroft for breaching article 2.3.5 of the Code of Conduct and the sanctions would be revealed in the next 24 hours.

Australian national team cricket coach Darren Lehmann will not resign.
Source: AAP

Cricket community responds

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke says the Test team won't recover until everything about the ball-tampering scandal is revealed.

"To(o) many reputations on the line for the full story not to come out. Cape Town change room is a very small place!," he tweeted shortly after Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland announced only three players knew of the plan.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan told the BBC this incident has tarnished the values of the baggy green.

"This Australian team have got a huge identity problem. They’ve got a problem in the way that they are, they’re very self-righteous, they have been for a while," he said.

"To think that the leader Steve Smith has thrown out a young player to create sandpaper. Let’s get to the point. They’ve tried to create sandpaper out in the middle.

"That Australian baggy green cap that the players swear by… the actual values of that baggy green that we’ve heard for many, many years. This set of Australian players have completely ripped up those values."

Other members of the cricket community were not satisfied with Cricket Australia's response.

Details of their punishment are expected within the next 24 hours. 

"These sanctions will reflect ... the damage it has done to the standing of Australian cricket."

A reporter repeatedly pushed Mr Sutherland on whether the trio "cheated", but Mr Sutherland refused to answer the question directly.

"This is not in the laws of the game, it's not in the spirit of the game, and again," Mr Sutherland said.

"It is not a good day for Australian cricket," he added.

Tim Paine has been officially appointed captain.

Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell are on their way to South Africa to play in the fourth Test that starts on Friday. 

Published 28 March 2018 at 4:31am, updated 28 March 2018 at 10:34am