Both Australian cricket captain Steve Smith and vice captain David Warner have stood down from their positions after the ball tampering scandal.
The announcement was made by Cricket Australia on Sunday, after an emergency meeting ahead of day four at the third Test in Cape Town. Tim Paine will stand in as acting captain.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland explained that, “Following discussions with Steve Smith and David Warner they have agreed to stand down as captain and vice-captain respectively for the remainder of this Test match. This Test match needs to proceed, and in the interim we will continue to investigate this matter with the urgency that it demands.
“Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met. All Australians, like us, want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings, as a matter of priority.”
Earlier, Adam Gilchrist had led a chorus of shock and outrage in response to Australia’s premeditated attempt to cheat in the third Test against South Africa.
Veteran spinner Brad Hogg reckons a naive Cameron Bancroft has been “thrown under the bus” by team leaders.
Australia’s top sporting body has called for captain Steve Smith and any others involved to be stood down immediately.
Even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has weighed in, calling for “decisive action” against the perpetrators.
“After all our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play. How can our team be engaged in cheating like this?” Turnbull said.
Smith and his leadership group discussed the merits of using sticky tape to illegally alter the ball at lunch on day three of the contest in Cape Town.
Bancroft was then caught using the tape, which had debris from the pitch, while working on the ball.
The opener, who attempted to hide the tape from umpires, has been charged with ball tampering by the match referee.
Former Test vice-captain Gilchrist said he was “embarrassed” by the revelations.
Dear South African cricket players, stop slut shaming Candice Warner.
“Australian cricket now and the integrity of Australian cricket is the laughing stock of world sport,” he said on Network Ten.
“We’re very quick to damn nations that cheat in any way or go beyond the rules.
“This clearly is against the laws of the game and we’ve just had our national captain admit they sat down, premeditated, pre-planned a way to cheat.”
Hogg, who comes from the same Perth club as Bancroft and has known him since he was 13, pointed the finger of blame directly at Smith for leading the eight-Test opener astray.
“(Bancroft) wants to find his feet in that particular team,” Hogg said on Fox Sports News.
“He’ll do anything, he’ll go through a brick wall for his teammates; especially for his leader.
“I think he’s been thrown under the bus here.”
Earlier, the Australian Sports Commission – the government agency responsible for distributing funding to sports – urged Cricket Australia to take urgent action.
“The ASC condemns cheating of any form in sport,” it said in a statement, attributed to ASC chair John Wiley, his board and CEO Kate Palmer.
“The Australian cricket team are iconic representatives of our country.
“The example they set matters a great deal to Australia and to the thousands of young Australians playing or enjoying the sport of cricket and who look up to the national team as role models.
“Given the admission by Australian captain Steve Smith, the ASC calls for him to be stood down immediately by Cricket Australia, along with any other members of the team leadership group or coaching staff who had prior awareness of, or involvement in, the plan to tamper with the ball.
“This can occur while Cricket Australia completes a full investigation.”