The embattled trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will be sent home in disgrace on Wednesday as Cricket Australia cracked the whip on their errant captain, his deputy and the young opener for the ball- tampering conspiracy against South Africa.
Tainted trio sent Down Under
However, chief coach Darren Lehmann has been given a clean chit, as Cricket Australia (CA) concluded its preliminary investigations. The CA probe found that only the three players were involved in the conspiracy.
Tim Paine will captain Australia in the final Test match with reinforcements in Glenn Maxwell, Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.
"All three players (Smith, Warner, Bancroft) that have been reported will leave tomorrow. Renshaw, Maxwell and Burns will arrive in South Africa in the next 24 hours," CA chief executive James Sutherland told a media conference here this evening.
"Tim Paine has been officially appointed captain of the Test team," he added.
Sutherland stressed that apart from the trio, no other player in the group had any prior knowledge about the wrongdoing.
"Contrary to inaccurate reports, Darren has not resigned. He had no prior knowledge," confirmed Sutherland.
Questioned whether Lehmann offered to resign, Sutherland replied: "As far as I am aware no he has not, at least not to me."
"No other players or support staff had prior knowledge and this includes coach Darren Lehmann who had no prior knowledge. He will continue to coach the national team under his current contract," said the former first-class player.
He made it clear that tougher sanctions awaited the trio after full inquiry is complete.
"We are contemplating significant sanctions in each case of the three players. These sanctions will reflect the gravity of what occurred and the damage it has done Australian cricket. Urgency must be balanced with due process.
"We have conducted an investigation, we have made reports and sanctions will be issued tomorrow. They will be significant. They will reflect the gravity of the situation," he added. Sutherland said he was angry but maintained that it was "an isolated incident of significant concern."
Warner under fire
Earlier, there were reports that some Australian players want a "rogue" Warner out of the team hotel in South Africa, amid news that suggested the opening batsman was the ringleader of the scandal.
According to foxsports.au, several of Warner's furious team-mates asked CA to have the batsman removed from the team hotel, warning there could be an "incident" between Warner and angry players if he remains.
Warner has also removed himself from a WhatsApp group comprising Australian players, with one source saying he has "gone rogue" since the ball-tampering saga broke.
It's believed several players in the Australian team were not aware of the tampering plot until damning footage of Bancroft scrubbing the ball with yellow tape appeared on the big screen at the ground. —Agencies