Matt Renshaw plays the flick shot © Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
Steven Smith‘s ban from the Johannesburg Test has forced the call-up of Matt Renshaw into the Australian squad, as the former captain Steve Waugh called for Cricket Australia to refocus on the importance of the spirit of the game.
The team flies to Johannesburg on Tuesday, with CA’s chief executive James Sutherland set to meet them on arrival and digest the findings of a code of behaviour investigation by the head of integrity Iain Roy.
The coach Darren Lehmann is reportedly planning to announce his resignation, while it is also understood the assistant coach David Saker was the only other member of support interviewed by Roy. Smith, David Warner and Bancroft were among the players Roy interviewed. Sutherland is expected to speak publicly about the affair late on Tuesday.
The events of the Newlands Test have brought an unprecedented level of outrage from the Australian public, moving Waugh to speak about the need to realign the spirit of cricket as a priority for the team and CA.
“Like many I’m deeply troubled by the events in Cape Town this last week, and acknowledge the thousands of messages I have received, mostly from heartbroken cricket followers worldwide,” he said. “The Australian cricket team has always believed it could win in any situation against any opposition, by playing combative, skilful and fair cricket, driven by our pride in the fabled baggy green.
“I have no doubt the current Australian team continues to believe in this mantra, however some have now failed our culture, making a serious error of judgement in the Cape Town Test Match. In 2003, we modified the Spirit of Cricket document originally created by the MCC, to empower our players to set their own standards and commit to play the Australian way.
“We must urgently revisit this document, re-bind our players to it and ensure the Spirit in which we play is safeguarded for the future of the sport, and to continue to inspire the dreams of every young kid picking up a bat and ball and for every fan who lives and breathes the game.”
Waugh called for consideration to be given to the “social impact and mental health” of all players involved in the episode.
“A focused and balanced perspective is needed in the condemnation on those involved in this, with a clear and critical consideration to the social impact and mental health of all players,” he said. “I will support all positive action to ensure an outcome for the betterment of the game, regaining the trust and faith of every fan of cricket.”
Renshaw is currently playing for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield final and has been in excellent form. He struck three successive centuries – 170 against Victoria, 112 against South Australia and 143 not out against Western Australia – to lead his team into a title clash they are set to win at Allan Border field.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.