As the three players at the center of a ball-tampering scandal prepared to fly home to Australia, at least one of the trio, Test opener David Warner, lost one of his major commercial endorsements.
Steve Smith has been temporarily stripped of the Test captaincy and suspended for the fourth Test, along with vice-captain Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, in response to the ball tampering on the third day of the Cape Town Test match last weekend.
Ball-tampering row | Smith, Warner, Bancroft to head home; Lehmann stays as coach: Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia hasn't finalized sanctions for the three players, but lengthy bans are expected.
On Wednesday, LG, a South Korean electronics company, confirmed that Warner, who signed on as its brand ambassador in November 2014, would not have his contract renewed.
"LG's current sponsorship of David Warner is in the final weeks, and in light of recent events we have decided not to renew our partnership," the company said in a statement. "LG Australia will always look to work with ambassadors that share our core brand values and we take these relationships incredibly seriously."
Sanitarium this week removed all material related to Smith from the website of its breakfast cereal Weet-Bix pending the outcome of Cricket Australia's inquiry into the ball tampering episode.
Smith and Bancroft confessed that, after a discussion during a break in play last Saturday in the third Test against South Africa, they decided they would try to change the condition of the ball by rubbing it with a piece of yellow adhesive tape and some dirt collected near the pitch. Bancroft was tasked to do the on-field tampering but botched it when he was caught by television cameras doing the tampering and then trying to hide the tape down the front of his trousers. The evidence from the TV cameras was overwhelming.
Australia subsequently lost by 322 runs and trails in the four-Test series 2-1. The fourth Test begins Friday in Johannesburg, with new players being flown in from Australia to replace the three sent home by Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.
"In regards to the three players on report, I want to stress that we are contemplating significant sanctions in each case," Sutherland told a news conference in Johannesburg. "These sanctions will reflect the gravity with which we view what has occurred and the damage it has done to the standing of Australian cricket."
The players' union issued a statement Wednesday saying the players are "remorseful for the mistakes they have made."
"They regret how their actions have represented themselves, teammates, cricket and their country," Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Alistair Nicholson said.
International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson said the ball-tampering incident, combined with mean-spirited exchanges between players in the Australia-South Africa series during the first three Tests, should force the game to have a "hard look at itself."
"In recent weeks we have seen incidents of ugly sledging, send-offs, dissent against umpires' decisions, a walk-off, ball-tampering and some ordinary off-field behavior," Richardson said.
Smith, Warner and Bancroft were expected to arrive back in Australia on Thursday.