CA to probe ball tampering scandal

Could Bancroft be in trouble

Could Bancroft be in trouble

Australia captain Steve Smith has been handed a one-match suspension and fined his entire match fee after admitting to ball tampering during the third day of the ongoing third cricket Test against South Africa.

Steve Smith's future as Australian cricket captain appears increasingly in doubt as the reaction and punishments over his involvement in a tampering plot during the third Test against South Africa continues to grow.

Cricket Australia said the pair had agreed to give up their leadership roles following "discussions" with the governing body, with wicketkeeper Tim Paine to take the reins for the remainder of the third test in Cape Town.

I can't believe the leadership group have got a young kid playing in his eighth test match to do this."TIM PAINE, Australia stand-in captain " It's been (a) terrible 24 hours, hard for all of us.

The man who bears the most responsibility for upholding those standards is the captain and Smith has shown through his own actions he has no regard for the most basic tenets of the game.

Cricket Australia have sent integrity chief Iain Roy and team performance manager Pat Howard to Cape Town to investigate the circumstances behind Saturday's incident.

Television footage showed Smith's teammate Bancroft, 25, taking a yellow object (sandpaper to scruff up one side of the ball to aid reverse swing) out of his pocket while fielding in the post-lunch session and appearing to rub it on the ball before putting the material into his pants in an attempt to hide it.

"As I said earlier today, Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met".

During the fourth day of the fourth Test between England and Pakistan, umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove held up play to call for a box of balls, and it soon became apparent that they had decided the tourists had illegally altered the condition of the ball.

"The whole opportunity for us going forward now is something we can learn from and something that we can try and control how we are seen going forward by the Australian public, and become the team that we want to become and they want us to be seen as", Paine said.

"The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore "serious" in nature". It will depend on what stand Cricket Australia (CA) takes on him, but even that is not ruled out.

Smith and Lehmann have been criticised throughout the acrimonious Test series in South Africa for condoning over-exuberant wicket celebrations, aggressive sledging and off-field confrontations.

The ICC's decision to ban Steve Smith for a Test hasn't quite gone down well with several former players and commentators. The tampering aided with the unplayable swing delivered by England bowlers as Australia lost the series 2-1. This is fair retribution for his role in the ball-tampering conspiracy that his team engaged in, but it is not enough.

The cost to Australia's reputation is immeasurably higher, however, with former players across the globe branding the team cheats and fans castigating the players on social media.

Current South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has also had two major run-ins with the authorities over ball-tampering.

But Mirror understands there is danger ahead for the two, who were Australia captain and vice-captain till Sunday afternoon.

Australian newspapers described the scandal as the worst captaincy crisis since 1981 when skipper Greg Chappell instructed younger brother Trevor to bowl underarm with the last ball of a one-day match against New Zealand to secure a victory. It unravelled when Bancroft, who made his test debut previous year, was caught by television cameras doing the tampering and then trying to hide the offending piece of tape down the front of his pants, heightening the embarrassment for Australia.

"The horror of what happened in South Africa overnight was just how our national cricketing leadership could engage in such cold-blooded, premeditated, clear-eyed CHEATING".

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