Steve Smith’s role in ball-tampering row has put cricket to shame: MCC
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Steve Smith’s role in ball-tampering row has put cricket to shame: MCC

Steve Smith’s role in the ball-tampering fiasco in Cape Town has been criticized sharply by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the custodians of the cricket law have called for a “major shift in attitude.”

cricket Updated: Mar 26, 2018 19:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Steve Smith,ball-tampering,Cameron Bancroft
Steve Smith’s admission of deliberately tampering with the ball has led to plenty of criticism, from Australia’s press to the Marylebone Cricket Club, the custodians of the cricket law. (AFP)

A day after the International Cricket Council (ICC) handed out a one-match ban and a fine of 100 percent match fee for tainted skipper Steve Smith and 75 percent for opener Cameron Bancroft, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of the cricket laws, released a statement calling for a “major shift in attitude and culture of all those with responsibility for leadership within the game.”

“We welcome the swift action by the match officials, ICC and Cricket Australia in response to the admission of ball tampering by senior Australia players,” MCC Assistant Secretary, (Cricket) John Stephenson was quoted as saying on

“The time has come for a major shift in attitude and culture of all those with responsibility for leadership within the game, to give young players the kind of role models who will uphold standards, preserve cricket and, vitally, the Spirit of Cricket for future generations.”

The MCC, the guardian of the laws of the game, welcomed the swift action taken by the match officials, the ICC and Cricket Australia, highlighting that changing the condition of the ball is prohibited under Law 41, concerning unfair play.

“Law 41 also places upon the captains of both sides the responsibility for ensuring that play is carried out in accordance with the spirit of the game as well as within the laws,” said MCC assistant secretary John Stephenson.

Bancroft could be seen rubbing the surface of the ball with sandpaper although he denied it when on-field umpires approached him during the game. Later, when there was concrete evidence and television cameras caught Bancroft in the act, Smith stated that it was a pre-meditated approach made to create an advantage for Australia and the leadership squad of his side was aware of the ploy.

The blatant admission invited criticism from across the cricketing fraternity, especially on the role Smith had set as captain for Bancroft who was just playing his eighth Test match.

The MCC also stated that it had taken a strong note of the untoward turn of events that have taken place during the ongoing series between Australia and South Africa. While the ball tampering saga has grabbed the limelight, tensions remained with Kagiso Rabada escaping a ban, David Warner getting involved in a heated altercation with a fan, and so on. “The behaviour of some of the players in the current South Africa/Australia series, and other incidents in recent times in the game we all cherish, has fallen well below the standard required to inspire future generations of cricket-loving families.”

Cricket Australia has launched its own investigation in the case but is yet to hand out a judgment. Smith has already had to step down from captaincy with Tim Paine leading the side on the fourth day. He also stepped down as captain of Rajasthan Royals, the IPL franchise he was to lead next month.

First Published: Mar 26, 2018 19:10 IST