Australian cricket authorities are in Johannesburg ahead of the fourth and final test match against South Africa, amid the furore over the ball tampering scandal that rocked the third test at Newlands in Cape Town over the weekend.
Embattled captain Steve Smith could face a lengthy ban from the sport pending Cricket Australia’s investigation into the incident.
Smith has already been suspended for one-match by the International Cricket Council, but that may just be the beginning of his sanctions.
Australia’s head of integrity, Iain Roy who will lead the CA investigation, has already arrived in the country accompanied by Pat Howard, the team’s performance manager, with the chief executive James Sutherland said to be en route.
The Australian cricket fraternity has been vying for Smith’s blood since he admitted to deliberately cheating on Saturday afternoon.
Australia’s major cricket sponsors Qantas Airways, breakfast cereal maker Sanitarium and brewer Lion are the latest to weigh in on the scandal saying that they are assessing their relationship with the country’s most popular pastime.
Weetbix-maker Sanitarium, of which Smith is a brand ambassador, said it was reviewing its sponsorship pending the outcome of an investigation by Cricket Australia.
The Sydney born batsmen, who first captained Australia in 2014, will miss the fourth and final test at the Wanderers as part of the ICC’s punishment.
He was also fined 100% of his match fee and given four demerit points.
But most aggrieved Aussies are calling for a harsher penalty.
Smith and Vice-captain David Warner stood down from their leadership roles at the start of play on day four of the Newlands test.
Earlier on Monday, Smith relinquished the captaincy of the Rajasthan Royals his Indian Premier League franchise this season.
Speculation on social media is that the number one test batsman could face a lengthy ban, or at the very least, be stripped of the captaincy on a permanent basis.
Smith and his deputy Warner will likely learn their fate on Tuesday evening.
According to Cricket Australia, Smith will remain in South Africa until the investigation has been concluded even though he won’t be playing in Johannesburg.
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