Any dilemma of who would lead Australia in the fourth and final Test was removed when the ICC suspended Steve Smith for one match for his part in the ball-tampering row.
Cameron Bancroft, the junior player tasked with carrying out the ball-tampering, was fined 75% of his match fee and handed three demerit points.
Smith, who was dropped as captain for the remainder of the third Test, was also fined his entire match fee following his admission yesterday that he agreed to a plan to change the condition of the ball during the third day’s play in the Cape Town Test against South Africa.
Smith did not contest the charge under an article which prohibits ‘all types of conduct of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game’. He was given two suspension points which equates to a ban for the next Test match and which will see four demerit points added to his record.
ICC chief executive David Richardson said: ‘The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore ‘’serious’’ in nature. As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended.’
He added: ‘The game needs to have a hard look at itself. In recent weeks we have seen incidents of ugly sledging, send-offs, dissent against umpires’ decisions, a walk-off, ball tampering and some extraordinary off-field behaviour.
‘The ICC needs to do more to prevent poor behaviour and better police the spirit of the game, defining more clearly what is expected of players and enforcing the regulations in a consistent fashion. In addition, and most importantly, Member countries need to show more accountability for their teams’ conduct. Winning is important but not at the expense of the spirit of the game which is intrinsic and precious to the sport of cricket. We have to raise the bar across all areas.’
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