SYDNEY, Australia -- Three Australian Test cricketers have been sent home from South Africa on Wednesday, in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked the sport.

Embattled Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, told reporters that prior knowledge of the ball tampering incident was limited to only three players.

While Cameron Bancroft was the only one identified on camera scratching the surface of the ball with a foreign object, it has been revealed that captain Steve Smith and vice captain David Warner were also involved in the plan to cheat.

As a result, all three players were sent back to Australia and will await further punishment.

"We want Australian cricket fans to be proud of the Australian cricket team, we will take the necessary stops to address that," Sutherland explained.

"Once the investigation has concluded in the next 24 hours, sanctions will be announced and will go through the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct process."

"I want to stress that we are contemplating significant sanctions in each case, 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."

Despite a whirlwind of speculation from local media down under, team coach and former Test cricketer Darren Lehmann has not stepped down from his role and will continue in his position for the duration of his current contract.

"No other players or support staff had prior knowledge and this includes Darren Lehmann who, despite inaccurate media reports, has not resigned from his position," Sutherland said.

Meanwhile Matthew Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns will fly to Johannesburg in the next 24 hours to replace the disgraced trio for the remainder of the series against the Proteas.

Wicket Keeper Tim Paine has been appointed the new team captain.