CHENNAI: Steve Smith’s acceptance of ball tampering during the third Test between South Africa and Australia sent a powerful earthquake throughout the cricketing world on Saturday.The aftershocks were felt in India on Sunday as Rajasthan Royals, coming back into the Indian Premier League after a three-year hiatus thanks to their owner being implicated for betting activities, announced that they would wait for instructions from BCCI before deciding what to do with their current captain.
“We have been made aware of the controversy of ball tampering in the ongoing Australia-South Africa series and await further instructions from BCCI. We at Rajasthan Royals will not tolerate any actions that are unfair by definition and bring disrepute to the game of cricket. Our zero-tolerance policy applies to everyone in our team,” the side’s executive chairman, Ranjit Barthakur, said in a statement.
That suggests that the IPL Governing Council, which does not necessarily has to follow ICC’s law book with respect to proven ball-tampering, may be open to discipline Smith given his prominent role in the issue.
Social media went into overdrive by saying that Royals had stripped Smith of captaincy, but that ultimately proved to be fake news. Royals, who will be striving to improve their image following their comeback, can also independently take any decision. Shane Warne’s inputs as mentor may also play a role in determining whether the team doles out a sanction for Smith, who was retained by the franchise. Considering Warne was super critical of the Australian team while on air, it may not be a surprise if they decide to strip Smith of captaincy.
The spotlight has been thrust on Sunrisers Hyderabad as well. Their star man and captain David Warner was stripped of vice-captaincy for the remainder of the third Test by Cricket Australia for his role on Saturday.
But Sunrisers, unlike Royals, are yet to release any official missives. They also have a deeper Oz connection thanks to Tom Moody’s role as coach. The only other Australian player in the ‘leadership group’ Smith referred to is Mitchell Starc (Kolkata Knight Riders) but it’s highly unlikely that he will be in firing line.