Sport Cricket Smith, Bancroft ‘struggling’ as cricket ball-tampering scandal hits home

Smith, Bancroft ‘struggling’ as cricket ball-tampering scandal hits home

Bancroft Smith
Cameron Bancroft talks to the umpires on day three, as Steve Smith looks on. Photo: AAP
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Australia’s stand-in captain Tim Paine has revealed Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft are going through emotional turmoil following a “strange, horrible 24 hours” after admitting to their role in the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked Australia cricket.

Smith was stood down as Australia captain for the remainder of the third Test against South Africa, which the tourists lost by 322 overnight in Cape Town, before being handed a one-match ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

It comes as ASC chairman John Wylie has heaped more pressure on Cricket Australia, saying Smith and Bancroft should have been sent home by now.

Mr Wylie says there are much larger issues at play as “this is about integrity in sport”.

“Frankly, we believe that Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft should have been on the first plane home yesterday,” Mr Wylie told ABC Radio on Monday.

ball tampering cameron bancroft
Television cameras clearly showed Bancroft attempting to hide the tape in his pants. Photo: Fox Sports

“If an athlete had been representing Australia in an Olympic Games and they had brought the country and the team into disrepute, that’s what would have happened to them.

“We think it’s right and appropriate that Cricket Australia does take decisive action, further action beyond what the International Cricket Council has done to ensure that Australians are proud of their cricket team.”

Australia vice-captain David Warner was also removed from his position on the fourth day in Cape Town.

The ICC did not ban Bancroft, instead punishing his ball-tampering charge with a hefty fine and three demerit points.

Paine, who was appointed interim captain, said both Smith and Bancroft were trying to come to terms with the ramifications of the scandal.

“They’re not great. It’s been a horrible 24 hours, they’re struggling but probably the reality and the enormity of what’s happened is starting to sink in,” Paine said.

David Warner and Steven Smith
David Warner and Steven Smith relinquished their leadership roles. Photo: Getty

“Maybe some did [underestimate how bad it was]. I don’t think we all would have expected this to be as big as it has been and particularly the fallout that we have seen from back home.

“The reality and enormity of it has sunk in.”

Paine would not be drawn on whether Smith and Australia coach Darren Lehmann should continue in their posts.

“That’s I think something that might come up this week,” he said.

“But there’s an internal review that’s going to take place in the next few days and until that’s happened, no-one will be making any comment on anything like that.”

Paine also would not entertain the prospect of replacing Smith in a full-time capacity.

“There’ll be a review this week. I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone is, so it’s an impossible question to answer.

“Not the circumstances that anyone would like to be sitting here. Really bizarre, strange, horrible 24 hours.”