Australia govt asks for Smith “to be stood down immediately” from captaincy

Australia govt asks for Smith “to be stood down immediately” from captaincy

Dhaka, Mar 25 (Just News): The Australian government has called for captain Steven Smith and others involved with the ball tempering incident to step down hours after Cricket Australia (CA) had informed that they would investigate the Australian team’s leadership over the issue.

The Aussie skipper had already admitted to being the mastermind after a premediated plan was hatched during the lunch break on Day 3 of the third Test at Newlands and Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had called the incident a ‘shocking disappointment’.

Turnbull told reporters he had spoken to CA chairman David Peever, who reassured him that the body "will be responding decisively, as they should".

"The whole nation, who 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 said.

"It's wrong and I look forward to Cricket Australia taking decisive action soon."

Meanwhile, The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) speaking on behalf of the government said in a statement:

“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.

"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."

Cricket Australia said that they were sending Iain Roy, Head of Integrity, and Pat Howard, the High Performance Manger to investigate the ball-tampering issue and attempt to get a clearer picture.

CA chief James Sutherland said that they were “extremely disappointed and shocked with what we woke up to this morning.

“We are dealing with this issue with the utmost urgency and seriousness,” he added.

Sutherland though suggested that he did not communicate with captain Steve Smith following the incident. ICC had charged Cameron Bancroft with ball tampering after television footage showed him taking a yellow tape and rubbing it on the ball.

Smith had commented earlier on the matter and suggested that he was not stepping down as captain, describing what happened as "It was the leadership group's idea. Poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren't involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this.

"I am not proud of what's happened. It's not within the spirit of the game."