Lehmann 'in no way involved' in ball tampering, reiterates CA chief Sutherland

Pressed on whether Darren Lehmann was involved in a ball-tampering cover-up, James Sutherland said: "[He] didn't know anything of the plan."

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland addresses reporters in Johannesburg   -  Getty Images

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has reiterated the organisation is satisfied head coach Darren Lehmann had no knowledge of the ball-tampering plan that has resulted in Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft receiving lengthy bans.

Smith and Warner were suspended from all international and Australian domestic cricket for 12 months on Wednesday, while Bancroft has received a nine-month ban following a CA investigation into an incident that occurred in the third Test with South Africa.

Bancroft admitted to attempting to alter the condition of the ball during that match, after his actions had been captured by television cameras, while Smith went on to say the team's "leadership group" had discussed the matter.

Summarising the findings of their investigation, CA stated Warner had developed the idea to alter the condition of the ball and provided instruction to Bancroft, while Smith is accused of having knowledge of a "potential plan" and failing to stop it being implemented. All three players can appeal against the sanctions they have received.

However, CA insists Lehmann was not involved in any way - something Sutherland emphasised when he faced reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"Darren Lehmann was not in any way involved in the incident. Iain Roy [CA's head of integrity] has satisfied himself on that and he continues as coach under his contract," said Sutherland.

As images of the attempted ball tampering emerged on Saturday, Lehmann was shown communicating via a walkie-talkie with Australia's 12th man Peter Handscomb, who then ran onto the field to speak with Bancroft.

"In Darren's defence, I do want to clarify that specific matter. He sent a message to say, 'What in the hell is going on?' - he didn't use 'hell', he used another word," Sutherland added.

"Through Iain's investigation, that was found to be the fact, and 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."

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