Ball-tampering+issue+rocks+Australia
Sunday, 25 March 2018 - 13:32
Ball-tampering issue rocks Australia
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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 Steven Smith as captain.

The country's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also called the incident a "shocking disappointment". "We all woke up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa," Turnbull said.

"It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating. "I've spoken with David Peever, the Chairman of Cricket Australia, a few moments ago and 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 that (to) the whole nation, who holds those who wear the Baggy Green up on a pedestal, about as high as you can get in Australia this is a shocking disappointment. It's wrong, and I look forward to Cricket Australia taking decisive action soon."

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Chair John Wylie, the ASC Board, and CEO Kate Palmer - essentially speaking for the Australian government - called for severe action against the team.

"The ASC condemns cheating of any form in sport," it said in a statement.

"The ASC 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."

The government's point of view emerged shortly after CA chief executive James Sutherland had said the board would investigate the ball tampering affair and take further action against the national team beyond the ICC charge accepted by Cameron Bancroft.

With the CA chairman David Peever in transit home from South Africa, Sutherland chose not to travel to see the team himself, instead delegating the matter to the head of integrity, Iain Roy, and the team performance manager Pat Howard. The initiation of this "process" left Sutherland unable to offer anything beyond the conditional endorsement of Steven Smith as "current" captain of the national team.

Sutherland and Howard were central to the sacking of Mickey Arthur, the predecessor to the current coach Darren Lehmann, ahead of the 2013 Ashes series.

"This morning [Australian cricket fans] have every reason to wake up and not be proud of the Australian team. It's a sad day for Australian cricket," Sutherland said in Melbourne. "Activities on the field yesterday in Cape Town are neither within the Laws of the game or within the spirit of the game. For us, at Cricket Australia that's extremely disappointing but more importantly, it's extremely disappointing for Australian cricket fans”.

Sutherland, who has been chief executive since 2001, revealed he was yet to speak to Smith about events at Newlands, where the Australians admitted to knowingly cheating by way of a ball-tampering attempt in South Africa's second innings.

(Cricinfo)

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