Steve Smith suspended, fined following cricket ball-tampering scandal

UPDATE @ March 26, 7.00am | AUSTRALIAN Cricket captain Steve Smith has been banned by The International Cricket Council (ICC) for one Test and fined his entire match fee following the Aussie ball-tampering scandal which has caused outrage around the world.

The ICC has also fined Cameron Bancroft 75 per cent of his match fee and issued him with three demerit points in wake of the incident.

It comes after Smith and David Warner were stood down as Captain and Vice Captain for the remainder of the Test match in Cape Town, South Africa.


“Following discussions with Steve Smith and David Warner they have agreed to stand down as Captain and Vice-Captain respectively for the remainder of this Test match,” Cricket Australia CEO, James Sutherland said in a statement.

“This Test match needs to proceed, and in the interim we will continue to investigate this matter with the urgency that it demands.”

Mr Sutherland said “Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met.

“All Australians, like us, want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings, as a matter of priority.”

Tim Paine will step in as Acting Captain for the remainder of the Test, while an investigation remains ongoing.

“The Board fully supports the process for an immediate investigation into what occurred in Cape Town.  We regard this as a matter of the utmost seriousness and urgency. We will ensure we have all information available to make the right decisions for Australian Cricket,” Cricket Australia Chairman, David Peever said.

Additional reporting by Shanee Dobeson.

EARLIER @ March 25, 11.30am | It’s been labelled the darkest day in Australian sporting history, yet the boss of Cricket Australia has barely sprinkled water on the raging fire.

James Sutherland faced the media a short time ago to discuss the ‘cheating’ scandal, only to cop immediate criticism from fans, reporters and commentators.

The CA chief executive confirmed that he has not even spoken to captain Steven Smith, who overnight confirmed that he and the leadership group devised the plan to tamper with the ball in the third test against South Africa in Cape Town.

“We’re dealing with the challenges of time zone differences… we need to get people on the ground to interview the relevant people to put us in a clear picture to make appropriate action and decisions,” Mr Sutherland said.

“We certainly don’t have all the evidence at hand,” he added.

“We need someone to go over there and talk to the relevant people involved to understand what happened in detail and then we’ll make appropriate decisions as to next steps.”

It was confirmed, integrity boss Iain Roy and head of high performance Pat Howard would be sent to Cape Town to investigate the matter.

When asked if any of the players would be immediately suspended from the current match, notably Cameron Bancroft who has already been charged with ball tampering by the ICC, Mr Sutherland refused to confirm if that strong action would be taken.

“We’re in the middle of a game right now and that game needs to conclude, but in the next couple of days we’ll get to the bottom of this and take appropriate action.”

“I’m not happy about this at all. I feel like Australian cricket fans feel right now, but my job is to understand the facts and make the decisions accordingly.”

EARLIER | A dark cloud is hanging over Australian cricket and captain Steve Smith, after he admitted to planning a “big mistake” that led to his opening batsman ‘cheating’.

Cameron Bancroft has been charged with ball tampering after being sprung by cameras pulling something from his pocket to alter the ball on day three of the third test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Bancroft, who is playing in just his eighth test, looked extremely shameful during a post-day press conference where he and Smith were grilled over the incident.

The 25-year-old from WA revealed he had used a piece of yellow tape that is connected to padding in their kit to gather grit from the wicket in an attempt to alter the ball.

When it came to his attention that he’d been caught on camera, arousing the suspicion of the umpires, he stuffed the offending item down his pants.

“I’ve just had discussions with the match officials and I have been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball,” he told the salivating media.

“We had a discussion during the (lunch) break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from rough patches on the wicket to change the ball condition, it didn’t work,” he admitted.

“Once being sighted on the screen I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers.”

Smith backed up the story, confessing the leadership group had discussed ways to get an edge over the Proteas as the third test slips from their grasp.

“The leadership knew about it, we spoke about it at lunch,” he said. “I’m not proud of what’s happened, it’s not within the spirit of the game.”

But he is refusing to admit it could mean the end of his captaincy.

“I won’t be considering stepping down.

“I still think I’m the right the person for the job. Obviously, today was a big mistake on my behalf and on the leadership group’s behalf as well.

“My integrity, the team’s integrity, the leadership groups integrity has come into question and rightfully so.”

While Bancroft has been charged by the match referee, there is no indication of charges against Smith for conspiring with the fielder.