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Ball-tampering row: Rajasthan Royals to wait for ICC verdict on Steve Smith

Rajasthan Royals, who will be led by Steve Smith in the Indian Premier League 2018, have decided to wait for the ICC sanction on the Australian skipper, who admitted that he tampered with the ball in the Cape Town Test.

cricket Updated: Mar 25, 2018 19:17 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
PTI, New Delhi
Ball-tampering,Steve Smith,David Warner
Steve Smith and David Warner are captains of Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad and a decision on their captaincy will be taken after the ICC announce the ball-tampering verdict after the Newlands Test.(AFP)

IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said Rajasthan Royals will wait and see what sanctions the ICC imposes on Steve Smith before taking a call on his future as the franchise’s captain, following a ball tampering scandal that prompted, among others, even Australia’s prime minister to react.

Smith and his deputy David Warner were made to step down from their respective posts after the skipper admitted to have orchestrated ball tampering on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Reacting to the ball-tampering issue, Rajasthan Royals issued a statement which said they will wait and watch . “We have been made aware of the controversy of ball tampering in the ongoing Australia - South Africa series and await further instructions from BCCI, before we make any announcement. We at Rajasthan Royals will not tolerate any actions that are unfair by definition and bring disrepute to the game of cricket. Our Zero tolerance policy applies to everyone in our team,” Ranjit Bhartakur, Executive Chairman of the franchise said.

Smith confessed to being complicit in tampering in an explosive post-match press conference that he fronted alongside his embattled opener Cameron Bancroft.

“The BCCI and Rajasthan Royals will like to wait for the ICC to announce the official sanction against Steve Smith. As of now, no decision will be taken either by the board or the franchise,” Shukla told PTI.

The administrator added, “We will only take a call depending on the magnitude of sanction. Smith is an important player for Royals and their skipper. It’s only fair that they wait.”

When asked about Cricket Australia’s decision to sack both Smith and Warner, Shukla said: “That’s an internal issue of Cricket Australia. The BCCI or IPL Governing Council have got nothing to do with it. Our only concern is ICC.”

Another senior BCCI official, privy to the development, gave a practical view.

“Both Smith and Warner are integral part of IPL as marquee players. We can’t just take away their contracts for one incident. Also if ICC gives a one Test ban or three demerit points, how can we impose hefty sanctions.

“Also Rajasthan is coming back this year. They need Smith both as a brand and a player,” the senior office bearer said.

Television footage showed Smith’s teammate Bancroft, 25, taking a yellow object (sandpiper to scruff up one side of the ball to aid reverse swing) out of his pocket while fielding in the post-lunch session and appearing to rub it on the ball before putting the material into his trousers in an attempt to hide it.

The opening batsman was later charged with an attempt to change the condition of the ball. Former Aussie greats have lambasted Smith for his dishonest approach and for getting a junior on the firing line. There have been calls to sack coach Darren Lehmann also.

Hours after Cricket Australia said it would investigate the actions of the Australian team’s leadership in relation to the ball-tampering confession in the Cape Town Test, the Australian government has asked the board to remove Smith as captain.

The country’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also called the incident “shocking disappointment”.

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 17:59 IST