Ball-tampering row: Australia’s Captain and Vice Captain step down
Australian captain Steve Smith was on March 25, 2018 handed a one-match suspension and fined 100 percent of his match fee by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after he owned up to a ball-tampering conspiracy in South Africa.
With the revelation, Steve Smith stepped down as the captain of the Australian cricket team for the rest of the ongoing third test match against South Africa along with his deputy, David Warner, who stepped down as the team’s Vice- Captain.
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine was named as the stand-in captain at the ongoing game at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town and both Smith and Warner will take to the field under his captaincy.
Steve Smith admitted that he was party to a decision to attempt to change the condition of the ball in order to gain an unfair advantage during the third day's play against South Africa in the Cape Town Test on March 24, 2018. He will now miss the fourth and the final test of the series.
• ICC Chief Executive David Richardson laid the charge against Smith under Article 2.2.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel which prohibits to 'all types of conduct of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game'.
• Richardson stated that as a captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended.
• ICC also sanctioned two suspension points against Smith, which equates to a ban for the next test match and addition of four demerit points to his record.
• Besides Smith and Warner, Australia opener Cameron Bancroft was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the third day's play.
• Bancroft admitted that he breached Article 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to ‘changing the condition of the ball in breach of clause 41.3.’
• The controversy erupted during South Africa's innings on March 24 when Bancroft was seen on television holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers.
• As soon as the incident was shown on the giant screen, the player was questioned in the presence of his captain Smith by the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong.
• The on-field umpires then later along with third umpire Ian Gould and fourth umpire Allahudien Palekar sanctioned charges against Bancroft.
• The umpires inspected the ball at that time and decided not to replace it and award a five-run penalty, as there were no visible marks on it that suggested that its conditioned had been changed as a direct result of Bancroft's actions.
• The umpires though agreed that Bancroft's actions were likely to alter the condition of the ball and he was therefore charged under Article 2.2.9.
The development comes just days before Indian Premier League’s 2018 edition is set to take off from April 7, 2018. While Smith is the captain of the Rajasthan Royals franchise, Warner is a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise. Their fate in the game is yet to be decided.