The trio of Australian cricketers at the centre of the god-almighty cheating scandal have been sent packing from South Africa, as pressure mounts on Cricket Australia‘s top brass to find and punish every sportsman tied to the ball-tampering fiasco.

Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft have been ordered home days after it was revealed captain Smith and vice captain Warner were aware of a plan for Bancroft to illegally alter the surface of the ball with a bit of sticky tape.

The announcement comes after reports Warner had “gone rogue” in the Australian camp and had removed himself from team group chats.

Matthew Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns have been called up to replace the trio. Wicketkeeper Tim Paine has been tapped to handle captaincy duties for the time being.

Despite speculation he’d resign, coach Darren Lehmann remains in charge.

Smith and Warner had already been stripped of their leadership roles for the remainder of the test series against South Africa. The leadership duo, along with relative newcomer Bancroft, are expected to face hefty punishments from Cricket Australia for breaching article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct – the part which explicitly says you can’t mess with the ball.

Cricket Australia’s punishment is expected to be announced within the next day.

Discussing sanctions against the players, Cricket Australia’s chief executive James Sutherland said “the reputation of Australia as a sporting nation has been damaged in the eyes of many. However, urgency must be balanced with due process given the serious implications for all involved.”

The fourth test kicks off on Friday.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Image: Quinn Rooney / CA / Getty Images