Australia ball-tampering row: The key questions facing Australian cricket
Sunday - 25/03/2018 21:49
Australian cricket is mired in the biggest scandal to hit the Test game since three Pakistan players were caught spot-fixing at Lord's in 2010.
The pictures from the third day of the third Test against South Africa of Cameron Bancroft rubbing what we were later told was yellow tape against the ball and then hiding it down the front of his trousers were only outdone on the scale of extraordinary by the news conference that followed.
Bancroft and then captain Steve Smith came clean. It was a pre-meditated and calculated plan to alter the condition of the ball.
There is a debate to be had on the severity of ball-tampering as a cricketing crime. It is nothing new for bowlers and fielders to attempt to conjure something from the leather by fair means or foul.
That, though, is for another day. Right now, the ferocity of the backlash against Smith, his team and its management has left a number of Australian cricketing giants fighting for their jobs and the governing body of the sport down under wondering how to repair its shattered reputation.
Who was involved in the ball-tampering plot?
From what has happened so far, we know Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Bancroft are conspirators. But how many other players are in the "leadership group" referred to by Smith? Was substitute fielder Peter Handscomb, seen on a walkie-talkie and then passing a message to Bancroft, also in on the plot?