David Warner set to be latest casualty as Australia scramble to make up the numbers in Joburg

Alex Broun 00:45 27/03/2018
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The fallout from the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal continues to grow as Australian vice-captain David Warner is set to join his captain on the sidelines in Johannesburg for the fourth and final test of the acrimonious series.

Warner, one the chief architects of the failed ball-tampering scheme, looks certain to be suspended when Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland arrives in South Africa on Tuesday to receive a report on the incident from CA’s head of integrity, Iain Roy and Pat Howard, the head of high performance.

Captain Steve Smith, the other architect, has already been banned for one match by the ICC while the possibility of a life-time ban for Smith and Warner from the CA has also been mooted by a rabid Australian media.

Sutherland is under mounting pressure to take responsibility for what Australian media has dubbed a “rotten” team culture.

“We are aiming to be in a position to fully update the Australian public on the investigation and outcomes on Wednesday morning,” said Sutherland.

“We recognise how important the fans are to our game, and this process is the beginning of restoring your faith in Australian Cricket.”

Smith, 28, was removed from the captaincy for the remainder of the third Test against South Africa on Sunday after the shock admission that he and senior team members had cooked up the ball-tampering plot.

The world’s No1 ranked batsman is now expected to face a further sanction from CA for master-minding the scheme.

A charge of conduct contrary to the spirit of the game includes a possible life ban.

If Warner is removed from the fourth Test, along with the instigator of the ball-tampering Cameron Bancroft, Australia will scramble to field a batting line-up with up to three players having to be flown in urgently from Australia.

Further complicating the issue, the top candidates – Joe Burns, Matt Renshaw and George Bailey – are currently involved in the Sheffield Shield Final in Brisbane.

Questions also remain over coach Darren Lehmann and how much he knew of the conspiracy and when. He also looks set to be stood down by Sutherland for the immediate future.

Meanwhile the Marylebone Cricket Club, the guardian of the laws of the game, has called for a “major shift in attitude” to preserve the game for future generations in the wake of the Australian team’s ball-tampering fiasco.

“The behaviour of some of the players in the current South Africa/Australia series, and other incidents in recent times in the game we all cherish, has fallen well below the standard required to inspire future generations of cricket-loving families,” the MCC said.

Smith was also replaced as skipper of the Rajasthan Royals IPL outfit on Monday, ahead of the season starting April 7.

“Rajasthan Royals will do everything possible to protect the values and the integrity of the game,” said the team’s co-owner Manoj Badale.

“What happened in South Africa was clearly wrong, especially given that it appears to have been pre-meditated.”

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