Reports of Steve Smith returning to Australia from Cape Town at the conclusion of the third Test against South Africa have been quashed by Cricket Australia. In the aftermath of the ball tampering controversy where Smith was handed a one match ban, reports in the Australian media said he would get back home to face the music.
As Australian media slammed Cricket Australia, Smith and Cameron Bancroft for use of sandpaper to gain an advantage, Fox Sports reported on Monday that Smith was due to arrive home from Cape Town later in the day. But the report was ruled out with Smith to remain part of the touring party even as Cricket Australia begin their internal investigation into the controversy which resulted in ICC banning him for the fourth Test. Australia trail the series 1-2 after going down by a record 322 runs in the third Test.
CA confirmed that none of the touring party had flown home. “Cricket Australia can confirm that all members of the touring Test squad currently remain in South Africa,” a statement read. “Multiple media reports that suggest players have departed South Africa for home ports are inaccurate. At this stage, players will remain in South Africa to assist CA with inquiries. Any outcomes from that process will be communicated in due course.”
Smith stepped down as Test captain before start of play on fourth and final morning at Newlands with vice-captain David Warner also standing down in his leadership duty. Later, ICC chief executive David Richardson banned Smith for one Test for conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game after he admitted to planning to alter the condition of the ball.
In the upcoming days, Smith and his Australia teammates will be interviewed by CA Head of Integrity Iain Roy, the person who has been handed the responsibility of leading the investigation into how and why the Australians came to the decision to operate outside the rules of the game to gain an advantage.
Australian team are set to fly to Johannesburg on Tuesday ahead of Friday’s fourth Test at The Wanderers. For Smith, next assignment on the cards is IPL with Rajasthan Royals where is the skipper. The franchise are returning to IPL after serving out a two-year suspension for match fixing scandal that rocked the sport in 2015. Royals are yet to take a decision on his involvement and role with the team following ICC’s ban.