Broken cricket stars want to quit
AUSTRALIA'S cricket stars are on the brink of "breaking apart" and want the Fourth Test against South Africa to be abandoned, according to a report.
The Aussie dressing room has been ripped apart by the ugly fallout to the ball-tampering scandal which has reportedly led to David Warner being banished from the team.
Warner, dumped captain Steve Smith and busted ball-tamperer Cameron Bancroft will on Wednesday night (AEST) return to Australia after being officially charged by Cricket Australia for bringing the game into disrepute.
However, the damage is already more severe than that.
According to reports, the bad blood between Warner and his teammates may be impossible for the Aussie cricket team to overcome.
According to The Courier-Mail's Robert Craddock, the anger from Aussie cricketers towards Warner is a response to testimony the star opener reportedly gave Cricket Australia's integrity unit investigators which claimed the bowling unit of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon were aware of the ball tampering plot.
Craddock said members in the Aussie dressing room also suspect Warner was behind a report that aired on Channel 9 story which claimed the Aussie bowlers were in on the plan for Bancroft to rough up the ball using tape and sand hidden in his pockets.
Warner also left the Australian cricket team's WhatsApp group message thread on Tuesday.
Craddock named Starc as one of the players that is privately fuming at Warner's behaviour since Bancroft was busted by South African television footage trying to hide yellow tape down his pants.
"They are blistering to the point where I understand that one of the bowlers was thinking of approaching team management and saying, 'get him off the tour'," Craddock said.
"It's a major blow-up. They aren't on talking terms."
Warner was also spotted sitting distanced from his Aussie teammates on the flight to Johannesburg on Wednesday morning.
Aussie cricket commentator Jim Maxwell said Warner's standing with the team is so poor that he may never be selected to play another Test for Australia.
The upheaval of the civil war within the Aussie dressing room and Cricket Australia's decision to send Warner, Smith and Bancroft back to Australia has devastated the Aussie team.
Aussie Test great Gavin Robertson said the morale within the dressing room is so bad that players want to leave the tour and abandon the Fourth Test, beginning Friday.
"They are going to break apart in the next couple days," he said on Tuesday.
"I spoke to people this morning, the players don't want to play the test. Generally, they don't feel like playing because they are absolutely gutted."
The team has also cancelled Wednesday night's training session with players and officials still reeling.
The Aussies will also have to deal with a new-look squad for the final test against the Proteas with Warner, Smith and Bancroft sent home.
CA's board has appointed Tim Paine the nation's 46th Test captain, with the Tasmanian keeper to lead a new-look XI in the Fourth Test
Current squad member Peter Handscomb is set to be recalled, while Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell are en route to South Africa as reinforcements.
Coach Darren Lehmann will remain in charge for the Fourth Test with Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland declaring on Wednesday morning that the integrity unit has found no evidence that the head coach was involved in the ball-tampering plot.