FORMER Australian fast bowler Stuart Clark has called for the cricket public to find forgiveness for the Australian cricketers caught up in the ball-tampering controversy. Smith had already stepped down as captain of the Rajasthan Royals and Warner said today he would not skipper the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
CA's decision to sack former captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and young batsman Cameron Bancroft from the Aussie team but not Lehmann has left the cricket fraternity shocked and baffled.
Their places in the Australia squad will be taken by Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns, who were all flying over to South Africa.
"I understand and share the anger and disappointment of Australian fans", Sutherland said. "I want to make that point very clearly that Darren made those comments and Iain was certainly satisfied that Darren wasn't involved and didn't know anything of the plan".
CA has finally revealed more details, admitting via press release that Bancroft used sandpaper to illegally scuff the ball in the third Test. He was filmed with the tape and trying to hide it down the front of his pants.
Smith, the top test batsman in the world and the star of Australian cricket, knew about the plan.
However, Sutherland insisted Lehmann had had no knowledge of the plot.
In addition to their national suspension, all three players will be barred from representing their states in the Sheffield Shield during this time and can not play in the next edition of Australia's Big Bash League. "No other players or support staff had prior knowledge and this includes Darren Lehmann, who despite inaccurate media reports, has not resigned from his position", said Sutherland.More news: Bolton Expected to 'Clean House' at NSC
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"To many reputations on the line for the full story not to come out".
Australia are next due to travel to England for five ODIs and a single T20 game in June.
The Cricket Australia chairman, David Peever, said: "These are significant penalties for professional players and the Board does not impose them lightly".
He has also been dropped by sponsor LG, with the electronic giant stressing their "core values" in a statement confirming they would not be renewing their partnership.
"With all the distractions, there is not much we can do from our perspective", the 34-year-old said.
Sutherland said winning was important for the Australian team but not at the expense of the laws of the game.
CA has made it abundantly clear who it believes was most culpable and deceptive in the shameful saga that has triggered nation-wide outrage, with fresh waves of anger expected when the public learn players lied about what Bancroft stuffed down his trousers.
Sutherland said he had not considered resigning. Steve Smith and Bancroft can not hold leadership roles for the first 12 months after the end of their suspensions.
Cricket is Australia's one genuinely national sport and the disgust at the incident has played out in the media, social and traditional, for the last four days.