Steve Smith's future as test captain is in doubt following the incident ©Getty Images

Gold Coast 2018 chairman Peter Beattie has claimed the Commonwealth Games will restore the tarnished reputation of Australian sport following the cricket team's ball-tampering scandal as he pledged the event here would be a "cheat-free zone".

Beattie made the pledge as Cricket Australia sent home captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and player Cameron Bancroft for their role in the incident during the third test with South Africa in Cape Town.

Cricket Australia investigators travelled to South Africa, along with chief executive James Sutherland, to probe an issue which has dominated the front and back pages here and sparked worldwide criticism of the Australian team.

They interviewed players at the centre of the storm yesterday, with Sutherland then arriving in Johannesburg, where the fourth test begins on Friday (March 30).

It was thought head coach Darren Lehmann may resign from his position but Sutherland said he was not involved and, for the time being at least, he will keep his post.

"Significant" further punishments are expected for Smith, Warner and Bancroft in the next 24 hours, while Tim Paine has been appointed as captain for the rest of the series.

Smith was banned for one match by the International Cricket Council, while the 28-year-old and Warner stood down for the remainder of the third test.

Smith admitted the "leadership group" within the Australian set-up concocted a plan to tamper with the ball on the third day of the game at the Newlands Cricket Ground, carried out by Bancroft.

Bancroft was captured on television footage rubbing a homemade form of sandpaper, constructed from sticky tape and grit from the playing surface, onto the ball in an attempt to change its behaviour.

Head coach Darren Lehmann has been cleared by Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland ©Getty Images
Head coach Darren Lehmann has been cleared by Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland ©Getty Images

Doubts have since been cast on the identity of those in the "leadership group" referred to by Smith after members of the team who have been dragged into the scandal turned on Warner, who Fairfax Media have reported was the chief architect behind the ball-tampering plot.

The incident has prompted criticism from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, as well as a host of former cricketers, while the Australian Sports Commission called for all implicated players and staff to stand down.

It has also dominated the news agenda with just over a week to go until the Commonwealth Games open here on April 4.

Beattie, also chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, claimed the Games can repair the damage done by the Australian team.

"The bottom line is that Australian cricket has damaged Australia's sporting reputation and now the Commonwealth Games will restore that faith," he said, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.

"We are determined to be a cheat-free zone.

"At the end of the day, these sporting heroes get paid a lot of money and behaviour on and off the field is really important.

"It is about setting a standard and setting an example, it's about inspiring another generation, not the selfish cricketers.

"It is about the future.

"That's what has disappointed most Australians; however the Commonwealth Games will help restore our reputation."