As Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland flies into Johannesburg to conduct an investigation into the ball-tampering scandal, the spotlight is turning on to coach Darren Lehmann.
While Steve Smith denied the coaching staff were involved or aware of the plot, former Australia coach John Buchanan, for one, is questioning his position.
Reports in Australia indicate Justin Langer, the Western Australia coach, is waiting in the wings should Lehmann resign, or is removed.
‘It would be unusual, as the teams are walking out, that the coach is unaware of what’s about to happen,’ Buchanan told BBC Radio 5 Live.
‘Generally, it will be the coach and captain, in the last couple of minutes before they go to the field, who will be saying, ”these are the sort of things we want to do and put in place when we get out on the field”.’
Former England captain Nasser Hussain said: ‘In the dressing rooms I’ve played in, it is inconceivable that the coach wouldn’t know something like this was being dreamt up.
‘If he didn’t know, then questions will be asked as to why senior players are going around not telling the coach exactly what is going on.’
CA advised state associations investigation needing to be concluded in time to determine ‘at a minimum’ selections for the fourth Test, which starts on Friday in Johannesburg.
Players most likely to be added to the squad will come from the Queensland and Tasmanian teams which contested the Sheffield Shield final. Queensland openers Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns, plus the Tasmanian captain George Bailey, would appear the most likely players to be called up.
Sutherland has done this before. On the eve of the 2013 Ashes series, coach Mickey Arthur was replaced by Lehmann as a result of disciplinary problems within the team, one of which was David Warner’s drunken punch at Joe Root in a Birmingham bar. At the time, Sutherland spoke of ‘grasping the nettle’ in advance of public expectation.