Steven Smith not to step down as captain despite pressure mounting
Australia skipper Steven Smith insisted that he will not step down from captaincy despite admitting he has involved in the 'leadership group' that plotted the ball tampering during the ongoing third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was assigned the role of changing the condition of the ball and was spotted using a yellow sticky tape to pick up hard granules from the pitch and rub against the cherry to make it swing.
However, his moves were captured in the cameras and now has been charged by the International Cricket Council which could see him lose 100 percent match fee and also a ban for one game.
Smith along with Bancroft admitted in the post-match conference that the ploy was discussed by the senior group of players and he is embarrassed of the action. The World's number one ranked batsman accepted full responsibility of the act but declined to step down from the captaincy role.
“I’m embarrassed, the boys in the shed are embarrassed and I feel for Cam as well,” Smith told reporters.
“It is not what we want to see in the game, it’s not what the Australian cricket team is about. Being the leader of the team I am incredibly sorry for trying to bring the game into disrepute like we did today.
“The leadership group knew about it, we spoke about it at lunch.
“I’m not proud of what has happened. It’s not in the spirit of the game, my integrity and the integrity of the team has been damaged and rightfully so. It’s not on and it won’t happen again, I can promise you.
“The coaches weren’t involved, it was purely the players and the leadership group who came up with this. A poor choice, our actions are deeply regrettable.
“I won’t be considering stepping down, I still think I am the right person for the job. Today was a big mistake. This is something I am not proud of, something I can learn from and like I said, I am embarrassed to be sitting here talking about this,” he said.
“We are in the middle of such a great series and for something like this to overshadow the great cricket that has been played, that’s not what I am about or what the team is about.”
Meanwhile, opener Bancroft said he panicked after the footage of him trying to change the condition of the ball was caught by the cameras.
“I guess once I was sighted on the (TV) screens, that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers,” Bancroft said.
“I am not proud of what has happened. I have to live with the consequences and the damage to my reputation that comes with it. I will do my best to move forward and play cricket.”
Meanwhile, a number of former players expressed their anger over the incident demanding Smith to resign from the role.
WHAT THE ........ HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream.— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 24, 2018
Unfortunately this is blatant cheating and Steve Smith will have to step down as Australian captain.— Rodney Hogg (@RMHogg) March 24, 2018
Steve Smith,his Team & ALL the management will have to accept that whatever happens in their careers they will all be known for trying to CHEAT the game ... #SAvAUS— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 24, 2018
If there was ever a week to be bowled out for 58 and no one will give a shit ... England you are bloody very smart ... !!!! #SandpaperGate— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 24, 2018