In its attempt to carry out a thorough probe into the ball-tampering scandal involving skipper Steve Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft, Cricket Australia has decided to send Chief Executive James Sutherland to South Africa in order to assist with the ongoing internal investigation.
In a press release issued on Monday, Cricket Australia informed that the findings of the investigation will be known by Wednesday. Sutherland will to join Cricket Australia’s Executive General Manager Team Performance Pat Howard and Senior Legal Counsel and Head of Integrity Iain Roy in Johannesburg. The Aussie team too heads to Johannesburg, which is the venue for the final Test between Australia and South Africa, starting Friday.
In a statement released by CA, Sutherland said that the inquiry is being carried out “as a matter of urgency. It also stated that the findings of the inquiry will be shared with the public.
“Iain Roy and Pat Howard arrive in Cape Town this morning local time, and Iain will immediately conduct his inquiries around the specifics of the ball tampering incident. I am travelling to Johannesburg this evening and will arrive Tuesday morning local time to meet Iain to understand the findings of the investigation to that point, and to determine recommended outcomes. We know Australians want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings and next steps, as a matter of urgency,” the statement quoted Sutherland.
CA chairman David Peever said, “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.
“We expect to be able to fully update the Australian public on the findings on Wednesday morning (Tuesday evening in Johannesburg).
“We understand that everyone wants answers, but we must follow our due diligence before any further decisions are made.”
Roy had arrived in Cape Town earlier on Monday and has already begun the investigation.
The move of Sutherland going to South Africa indicates that CA is planning harsher penalties on its players. Steve Smith, after the incident has already been banned for one Test, while Bancroft has been fined 75 per cent of his match fees by the International Cricket Council.
Cricket Australia is under immense pressure to act against captain Smith after government agencies, including the Australian Prime Minister, urged the board to sack him.
The ASC Chair John Wylie, the ASC Board and CEO Kate Palmer in a statement related to the matter have condemned any forms of cheating in the sport.
“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,” the ASC statement read.
“The ASC condemns cheating of any form in sport. The ASC expects and requires that Australian teams and athletes demonstrate unimpeachable integrity in representing our country.”
“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.”
Meanwhile, The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also reacted to this scandal and had some rather harsh words questioning Smith and co.
“We all work up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa. It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating.”
“After all, our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play. How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief.”
“It’s wrong, and I look forward to Cricket Australia taking decisive action soon.”