You obviously think this is an isolated event. I think it's been going on all series actually, my opinion. When the ball is reverse swinging in the 30th over on a green pitch, come on, you have to be asking questions. I still maintain the whole team has to go, fresh faces and rebuild. Lets see how good Starc and Hazlewood bowl now going forward.
I'm sadly and somewhat reluctantly coming to a similar conclusion: this (ball tampering using sandpaper) has been happening for some time, and more than the 3 convicted parties knew about it and organised it.
If Warner really was giving Bancroft a tutorial on how to rough up the ball with sandpaper, you can only conclude it's something Warner has done before.
Secondly, I smell one huge stinking rat coming from Cricket Australia.
All three suspendees come out with exactly the same teary apology, and none of them answer any of the blindingly obvious questions, and pointedly none of them endorse the findings of the Ian Roy's enquiry. There was no reason not to acknowledge the report's findings (they were the only three involved), other than they know it's not true.
Lehmann, who was completely exonerated by Roy, (allowed to) resigned the next day.
Mitchell Starc, who has been complaining of calf soreness, but played the 3rd test anyway, is now too injured to play in the 4th test and the IPL
, even though a proper assessment of his injury has yet to be made. I know it's Mitchell Starc and he's chronically injured, but this stinks like an unofficial suspension to me.
Why was Glenn Maxwell sent over as one of the potential replacements? Originally they made a big thing/good news story of Matt Renshaw getting the call up to replace Bancroft. But after the preliminary results of the Roy enquiry, they hurriedly added Burns and Maxwell. From Maxwell's inclusion I can only conclude they may have faced the prospect of suspending either Handscomb or Lyon as well.
So this is what I now think happened - and this will no doubt change as there is clearly more to this story to come - :
Warner has been the "ball manager" within the team for some time. His job is to prepare the ball at the direction of the bowlers.
From at least the 1st test of this series - but for got knows how long before that - Warner's been doing this with sandpaper. There is only circumstantial evidence for this. The South Africans certainly suspect this.
Following Warner's various indiscretions on this tour he was facing suspension, so it became important that he train up a replacement "ball manager", and that job was assigned to Bancroft. It's possible this was done by Smith and Warner alone, but highly unlikely, almost certainly Lehmann was part of this decision and Bancroft was acting under direct instructions from (I suspect) the Coach, Captain and Vice Captain. The bowlers almost certainly have a say in what they want out of the "ball management process".
Warner was unusually fielding on the boundary when the tampering Bancroft was observed doing occurred. Exactly why is hard to say, to draw attention away (he was already under suspicion). But this can't happen without the captain's approval, and these days without the coach as well.
Anyway, it all goes pear shaped. Bancroft is busted on TV.
Smith and Bancroft give their semi-apologetic press conference at the end of the day, where they partially own up. Exactly what they were going to say was clearly pre-planned, and I'd be astonished if Lehmann rather than Warner wasn't involved in those discussions. I'd be equally surprised if Warner was
involved in these discussions, as I doubt he's considered any expert in media management. But at this meeting, they cooked up this BS about sticky tape and pitch rubble.
The press conference goes badly. The Aussie team (indeed everyone) underestimates the backlash about confessing to the cheating. Smith also uses the term "leadership group", which implicates and p*sses off lots of other people for lots of reasons.
In response the to the public furor, CA panics and sends over their investigator and senior management. They also revert to their typical MO and decide to thrown Bancroft under a bus and organise sending over Renshaw, and organise appropriate press.
(This bit is supposition on my part) Lehmann and the players probably get together to decide how to handle the Roy investigation, but Warner isn't included in this group: he can't be trusted to keep his story straight (or even agree to the story they've chosen to run). During the investigation, the players repeat their (probably) pre-arranged accounts of