Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann walks through a police cordon at Cape Town International Airport on Tuesday. Photo: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

CAPE TOWN – Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith may get his and many other cricket fans’ wish as Australian coach Darren Lehmann is expected to break his silence on the ball-tampering saga on Wednesday.

One of Cricket Australia’s official websites – www.cricket.com.au – has reported that Lehmann will speak about what happened at Newlands on Saturday afternoon for the first time since the scandal broke.

Lehmann has been conspicuous by his silence on his involvement in the controversy – especially with regards to his walkie-talkie message to 12th man Peter Handscomb to Cameron Bancroft, who then subsequently moved the yellow tape into the front of his pants from his pocket.

Exactly what did he say to Handscomb?

Lehmann was cleared of having any “prior knowledge” of the plot to tamper with the ball by Cricket Australia’s preliminary investigation, with chief executive James Sutherland saying that only Bancroft, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner knew about it.

“With Cricket Australia’s investigation ongoing, Lehmann has so far been unable to address the situation publicly, but he is expected to front the media in Johannesburg sometime on Wednesday (SA time),” the cricket.com.au website has reported.

READ: Smith, Warner and Bancroft sent home

Sutherland said that the sanctions for Smith, Warner and Bancroft will be announced today as they make their way back to Australia.

The trio have been replaced by Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell for the final Test against the Proteas, with wicket-keeper Tim Paine taking over the captaincy.

Sutherland’s reluctance to call the three players’ actions cheating was met with astonishment by the likes of former England skipper Michael Vaughan, while ex-Australian captain Michael Clarke was also frustrated with the findings.

“Anger seems to have increased post Sutherland’s presser, has he dug the hole deeper? I think so. Absolutely needed to own everything. #SandpaperGate,” Graeme Smith tweeted, before adding: “Lehmann should front up to the media today! #SandpaperGate.”

Clarke said on Twitter: “To many reputations on the line for the full story not to come out. Cape Town change room is a very small place!

“The truth, The full story, Accountability and Leadership- until the public get this Australian cricket is in deep s*t!

Vaughan stated: “Legal Folk ... Can you explain to me why James Sutherland would not use the Word Cheat or cheating even though his team had admitted to it ?? #Cheers”

Another former England leader in Kevin Pietersen used a number of laughing emojis alongside the sarcastic words: “Lehmann never knew” on Tuesday night.

He added on Wednesday: “I’ve woken up this morning actually gutted for Smith, Warner & Bancroft. Yes they were involved and will be sanctioned but I’m afraid they weren’t the only ones(& I don’t think anyone else believes they were)... I hope they get a fair trial.”


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