PRETORIA: Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are being sent home from Australia’s tour of South Africa and Smith and Warner have been banned for playing senior cricket for a year after the ball-tampering scandal.
Bancroft has been banished for nine month from Test and state cricket. They can all appeal.
Cricket Australia [CA] chief executive James Sutherland made the announcement at a news conference in Johannesburg, which came four days after captain Smith and opening batsman Bancroft admitted to manipulating the ball with sticky tape during day three of the third Test in Cape Town.
Sutherland claimed coach Darren Lehmann had no involvement or prior knowledge of the plan to alter the condition of the ball and would continue in his post, despite media reports indicating the head coach might resign from his position.
The three players have been officially reported for breaching article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct.
Sutherland said: “These sanctions will reflect the gravity with which we view what has occurred and the damage it has done to the standing of Australian cricket.”
Matthew Renshaw, who earned a recall to the Test set-up earlier on Wednesday, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns will take their place while Tim Paine will take on captaincy duties.
The Australia cricket chief stopped short of saying the players had cheated when pressed by the attending media.
He said only: “This is not in the laws of the game, it is not in the spirit of the game – I am angry and disappointed. It is not a good day for Australian cricket.”
Cricket Australia chairman, David Peever said in a statement: “We understand and share the anger of fans and the broader Australian community about the events that unfolded in Cape Town on Saturday.
“This issue goes beyond the technical nature of the offences and various codes of conduct. It is about the integrity and reputation of Australian Cricket and Australian sport.
“Ultimately, it is about whether Australians can feel proud of their national sporting teams.
“That depends as much on the way the players conduct themselves, as it does about winning or losing. It is about how we play the game,” Peever concluded.
Smith was handed a one-Test ban by the ICC and fined 100 per cent of his match fee over the incident while Bancroft was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and awarded three demerit points.
Also Smith has stepped down as captain of IPL side Rajasthan Royals ahead of the tournament starting on April 7.
South Africa lead 2-1 in the four-match Test series with one to play.