Smith and Warner stand down for remainder of Test over ball-tampering scandal
Smith had accepted his actions brought the game into disrepute.
Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner have agreed to stand down from their positions for the remainder of the third Test against South Africa over the ball-tampering scandal.
Smith’s admission of premeditated ball-tampering has led to calls for him to be sacked as skipper and Cricket Australia has taken temporary action while it investigates the incident, in which Cameron Bancroft was caught rubbing a piece of tape, coated with dust from the pitch, on the ball while fielding.
CA chief executive James Sutherland said: “Following discussions with Steve Smith and David Warner they have agreed to stand down as captain and vice-captain respectively for the remainder of this Test match.
Cricket Australia has made the following statement ahead of Day 4 of the Test match in Cape Town https://t.co/kkiSMvFt2C— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) March 25, 2018
“This Test match needs to proceed, and in the interim we will continue to investigate this matter with the urgency that it demands.
“As I said earlier today, Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met.
“All Australians, like us, want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings, as a matter of priority.”
On the board decision to appoint an acting captain, Cricket Australia chairman, David Peever said: “The board of Cricket Australia has endorsed Tim Paine to step in as acting captain for the remainder of this Test.
“Both Steve and David will take to the field today under Tim’s captaincy.
“The board fully supports the process for an immediate investigation into what occurred in Cape Town.
“We regard this as a matter of the utmost seriousness and urgency. We will ensure we have all information available to make the right decisions for Australian Cricket.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the actions of Smith and the team as “completely beyond belief” and the Australian Sports Commission had called for Smith to be stood down pending a full investigation.
Smith said about the ball-tampering incident on Saturday: “It’s not on, it’s certainly not and it won’t happen again under my leadership.
“We thought it was a possible way to get an advantage, obviously it didn’t work. It was a poor choice and I deeply regret our actions.
“I’m embarrassed and I feel for Cam as well. Being the leader of the team, I’m incredibly sorry for, I guess, trying to bring the game into disrepute.”
He insisted he would not “consider stepping down”, but he has now stood aside for the remainder of this match at least.