Cricket Australia (CA) will not make a decision about the future of Steve Smith’s captaincy until it completes a probe into stunning ball-tampering revelations that have plunged the test team into crisis, CEO James Sutherland said on Sunday (March 25).
Sutherland’s comments came as a shocked nation digested news from South Africa that Smith and senior players conspired to change the condition of the ball using sticky tape and grit from the pitch during the third test in Cape Town, reports the Hindustan Times.
Smith has said he was “embarrassed” by the scandal but had no intention of stepping down as skipper.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the incident a “shocking disappointment” and said he had urged CA Chairman David Peever to take prompt and decisive action.
“I have to say that the whole nation which holds those who wear the ‘baggy green’ up on a pedestal about as high as you can get in Australia, certainly higher than any politician that’s for sure, this is a shocking disappointment,” he told reporters.
“It’s wrong and I look forward to Cricket Australia taking decisive action soon.”
Former players and pundits have called on Smith to step down immediately, describing his position as “untenable”.
Sutherland, however, said the 28-year-old would continue to lead the side while the investigation played out.
“Steve Smith is currently the captain of the Australian team,” Sutherland told reporters in front of a huge media scrum outside CA’s Melbourne offices.
Smith, who has led the team since 2015 and is their best batsman, confessed to reporters in Cape Town on Saturday that the ball-tampering had been orchestrated by himself and senior players.
Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, the most junior member in the side at 25, was tasked with implementing the plan and was duly caught on camera using the tape.
He has been charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which could lead to a one-match ban and a 100 percent fine of his match fee.
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.
BDST: 1450 HRS, MAR 25, 2018