Cricket Australia (CA) has fingered banned vice-captain David Warner as the architect of a plan to cheat, alleging he advised Cameron Bancroft how to alter the ball with sandpaper in Cape Town.
CA has charged Warner, Bancroft and Steve Smith over the ball-tampering scandal, with a series of sanctions headlined by long bans.
The trio have been booked for conduct that is "contrary to the spirit of the game", "unbecoming of a representative or official", "is or could be harmful to the interests of cricket", and/or "did bring the game of cricket into disrepute".
Warner and Smith have been given 12-month suspensions, while Bancroft has been rubbed out for nine months. Players have seven days to consider the charges.
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It's understood Warner, who is unlikely to ever play for Australia again as his stunning fall from grace continues apace, is the only player strongly considering the merits of challenging his charge.
CA has made it abundantly clear who it believes was most culpable and deceptive in the shameful saga that has triggered nation-wide outrage, with fresh waves of anger expected when the public learn players lied about what Bancroft stuffed down his pants.
CA alleges Warner was solely responsible for the "development of a plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball", instructing "a junior player to carry out a plan", and providing "advice to a junior player regarding how a ball could be artificially altered, including demonstrating how it could be done".
CA also claims Warner failed to "voluntarily report his knowledge of the plan after the match", whereas Smith and Bancroft came clean.
The bombshell came after Warner lost a personal sponsor LG and was blacklisted from the Indian Premier League, where he was set to earn $2.4 million captaining Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The hard-hitting opener's relationship with teammates has hit rock bottom in recent days, while CA's fed-up board has told Warner he will never hold another leadership position.
It is possible Warner could be frozen out of the national set-up once a 12-month suspension expires, a la Kevin Pietersen's messy divorce from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Warner's talent is immense but many teammates view him as a divisive and negative influence.
Members of the touring party were shocked to see their vice-captain drinking champagne at the team hotel on Monday, when CA's integrity chief Iain Roy grilled players over the ball-tampering ploy.
It was only a month ago when Warner was the toast of Australian cricket, earning plaudits from teammates and coaches for the way he led the side to Twenty20 tri-series success in New Zealand.
Warner is a genuine rock star in India and had initially been confident of not only taking part in the T20 tournament, but retaining his lucrative leadership post with Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, LG has confirmed it will not renew its soon-to-expire deal with Warner.
"In light of recent events, we have decided not to renew our partnership," a spokeswoman said.
"LG Australia will always look to work with ambassadors that share our core brand values and we take these relationships incredibly seriously."