Ball-Tampering: Cricket Australia’s James Sutherland off to South Africa to Join Investigators into Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft

James Sutherland is flying to South Africa to join Cricket Australia (CA) higher-ups investigating the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked Australia’s Test team.

The Cricket Australia CEO will fly out to Johannesburg on Monday evening, and will arrive on Tuesday morning (local time) to meet senior legal counsel and Head of Integrity Iain Roy and general manager of team performance Pat Howard.

Howard and Roy arrived in Cape Town on Monday morning (Australian time) to begin conducting inquiries around the incident surrounding captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft during the Cape Town Test.

“We know Australians want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings and next steps, as a matter of urgency,” Sutherland said in a CA statement.

CA chairman David Peever said they expect to make a full announcement of their findings on Wednesday morning, Australian time.

“The Cricket Australia Board has been fully updated on the issue and supports James travelling to South Africa to manage the response to the investigation currently underway,” Peever said in a statement.

“We understand that everyone wants answers, but we must follow our due diligence before any further decisions are made.”

The scandal, which saw Bancroft attempt to hide a piece of tape from umpires after appearing to run it over the ball during day three of the third Test against the Proteas, proved to be a crippling distraction for the Test team as they lost by a mammoth 322 runs at Newlands.

Tim Paine leads Test team out in Cape Town

Smith confessed he and his leadership group instructed Bancroft to tamper with the ball on day three, with Bancroft admitting to the offence and copping a charge from match officials. Smith was suspended for one Test by the ICC.

The incident has also shaken the public’s trust in the team, for so long held up on a pedestal for its supposed hard-but-fair approach to the game.

Tim Paine was given the nod as stand-in skipper on day four as Australia lost 10 wickets in the final session at the hands of South Africa’s merciless bowlers.

Smith has also stepped down as captain of Indian Premier League (IPL) side the Rajasthan Royals, the franchise said on Monday. He has been replaced by Ajinkya Rahane.

The club said in a statement that Smith believed “it’s in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as captain so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions”.

On Sunday, Sutherland admitted it was a dark time for cricket in Australia, and that players and staff had let down their supporters.

“Australian cricket fans want to be proud of their cricket team,” he said.

“They want to be proud of the Australian cricket team. And I think this morning, they have every reason to wake up and not be proud of the team.

“It’s a very sad day for Australian cricket.

“One of the unique things about the game of cricket is that it’s to be played not only within the laws of the game, but in the spirit of the game.

“And activities on the field yesterday in Cape Town are neither within the laws of the game or within the spirit of the game.”

Paine has said both Smith and Bancroft are going through emotional turmoil as they try and come to terms with the scandal’s ramifications.

“They’re not great. It’s been a horrible 24 hours, they’re struggling but probably the reality and the enormity of what’s happened is starting to sink in,” Paine said.

“Maybe some did [underestimate how bad it was]. I don’t think we all would have expected this to be as big as it has been and particularly the fallout that we have seen from back home.

“The reality and enormity of it has sunk in.”

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