Canberra : In what seems to be an extremely shocking incident in international cricket in the recent times, the Australian government on Sunday asked Cricket Australia to remove Steve Smith as captain with immediate effect, after the Cape Town Test ball-tampering row.
Australian Sports Commission (ASC) chief John Wylie, the ASC Board, and CEO Kate Palmer, essentially speaking for the Australian government have called for a severe action to be taken against everyone involved in the incident.
“The ASC condemns cheating of any form in sport. It 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,” espncricinfo.com quoted a statement from the ASC.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, too, slammed the national cricket team for cheating.
“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. After all, our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play. How can our team by engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief. There’s a lot of disappointment,” news.com.au quoted Turnbull as saying.
He added that he had a word with Cricket Australia chairman David Peever and hoped the sport’s governing body would take a “decisive action”.
“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 the whole nation who holds those who wear the baggy green up on a pedestal – about as high as you can get in Australia, higher than any politician that’s for sure – this is a shocking disappointment and it’s wrong and I look forward to Cricket Australia taking decisive action soon,” the Australian Prime Minister added.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia on Sunday launched a formal investigation into the matter.
“We are extremely disappointed and shocked at what we woke up to this morning, and we are dealing with this issue with the utmost urgency and seriousness. We certainly don’t have all of the evidence at hand and we need someone to go over there and talk to the relevant people involved to understand what happened and the detail, and then we’ll make appropriate decisions as to next step,” cricket.com.au quoted Cricket Australia Chief Executive, James Sutherland as saying.
In times that call for an immediate decisions on the future of Steve Smith and other members of the team’s ‘leadership group’ that have been implicated in the acknowledged breach, Sutherland had stressed the need for a due process to be followed.
“We’re in the middle of a game, and that game needs to conclude. I understand that’s not necessarily the fullness of response that everyone is looking for right now, but there’s an element of process that needs to be undertaken here,” he said.
Further, Sutherland also confirmed that he hasn’t spoken to Smith owing to the time differences with South Africa.
Earlier on Saturday, when Smith was asked if he was contemplating resigning as the skipper, he had said that he believes he is still the right person for the job.
“Today was a big mistake on my behalf and on the leadership group’s behalf as well. But I take responsibility as the captain. I need to take control of the ship, but this is certainly something I’m not proud of and something that I hope I can learn from and come back strong from,” he had said.
Sutherland also confirmed that as of now Smith is still the captain.
“Steve Smith is still captain of the Australian Cricket Team,” he had asserted. (ANI)