Australia government calls for removal of Steve Smith as team’s captain after ball-tampering

Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also expressed his disappointment on the ball-tampering incident hours after Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland announced that Steve Smith will continue to lead the team.

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: March 25, 2018 7:31:15 pm

Australia are playing the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Australia captain Steve Smith admitted to tamper with the ball during the third Test against South Africa. (Reuters Photo)

Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday expressed his “shock” at the ball-tampering incident that has rocked the cricketing world. Hours after Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland announced that Steve Smith, who admitted to altering the condition of the ball during the third day of the third Test against Australia at Newlands in Cape Town, the prime minister said, “We all woke up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa. It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating,” he was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.

Turnbull further added that he is looking forward to seeing a “decisive action” on the incident from Cricket Australia. “I’ve spoken with David Peever, the Chairman of Cricket Australia, a few moments ago and I’ve expressed to him very clearly and unequivocally my disappointment and my concern about the events in South Africa. It’s their responsibility to deal with it, but I have to say that (to) the whole nation, who holds those who wear the Baggy Green up on a pedestal, about as high as you can get in Australia this is a shocking disappointment. It’s wrong, and I look forward to Cricket Australia taking decisive action soon.”

READ | Steve Smith to remain Australia captain, says Cricket Australia CEO

Australia Sports Commission (ASC) Chair John Wylie, the ASC Board and CEO also spoke on behalf of the Australian government and demanded the removal of Steve Smith as the captain of the cricket team. “The ASC condemns cheating of any form in sport. The ASC expects and requires that Australian teams and athletes demonstrate unimpeachable integrity in representing our country,” the ASC statement said.

“Given the admission by Australian captain Steve Smith, the ASC calls for him to be stood down immediately by Cricket Australia, along with any other members of the team leadership group or coaching staff who had prior awareness of, or involvement in, the plan to tamper with the ball. This can occur while Cricket Australia completes a full investigation,” the statement added.

READ | Ball tampering incident is blatant cheating, says Michael Clarke

On Saturday, opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught hiding an object inside his pants, which he later described as a “yellow tape” that is part of their kit, while admitting to ball tampering allegations at the press conference.

Smith, too admitted to his role in the incident, and said, “We spoke about it at Lunch and I’m not proud of it. It’s not within the spirit of the game, my integrity or the team’s integrity, the leadership group’s integrity has all come to question and rightly so. It’s not on and it certainly won’t happen again I can promise you that.”

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