New Delhi, March 27: Queensland opener Matthew Renshaw, who earned a to the Australia Test side might replace Steve Smith after skipper was handed one-match ban following the sandpaper gate controversy.
According to Cricket Australia: “Renshaw will fly to Johannesburg this evening to join the under-siege tourists ahead of Friday’s final Test against South Africa in the wake of the Cape Town ball-tampering crisis.”
Test captain Steve Smith has been suspended by the ICC for the fourth Test and Cameron Bancroft copped three demerit points and a 75 per cent match fee deduction.
Further sanctions from Cricket Australia could follow pending the outcome of an investigation led by Iain Roy, CA’s head of integrity. Smith and vice-captain David Warner were stood down from their leadership roles before day four of the third Test.
Renshaw warmed up with the Bulls at AB Field on Tuesday and took to the field in the morning session, stationed at first slip and then the boundary as Tasmania raced to 0-166 before play was suspended due to heavy showers.
He lingered around as players from both sides awaited a verdict on whether play would resumed on Tuesday.
It’s understood preparations were made for Renshaw to be substituted out of the match but they may not be required as an early end to the five-day decider looms.
Opener Lachlan Pfeffer was the 13th man and could have been a like-for-like replacement.
Renshaw has been in tremendous touch after Christmas, bouncing back from the lean trot that saw him replaced by Bancroft for the Ashes by posting three centuries in as many games to lead the Bulls into the Shield final.
The left-hander last pulled on the Baggy Green in September for the second Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong.
The Shield finalists have previously denied they’re considered the possibility of players being pulled out of the match, the competition’s showpiece event that is often touted as the closest thing to a Test match domestic cricket has to offer.
“You’d have to say yes (it would be strange if players were substituted out) because it’s pretty un-normal, former Test batsman Joe Burns said earlier this week.
“But it’s not something I’ve really thought about. I don’t think anyone has.” (With PTI inputs).