IPL participation in doubt as Steve Smith, David Warner face long ban

The very game that Steve Smith lived and breathed has suddenly turned hostile towards him.

Published: 27th March 2018 05:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2018 09:47 AM   |  A+A-

Steve Smith

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The very game that Steve Smith lived and breathed has suddenly turned hostile towards him. A day after he stepped down as Australia skipper for the final day of the third Test, Rajasthan Royals confirmed that Smith won’t lead the side in the upcoming IPL season.

The way things are, perhaps, Smith may not even turn up in India for the annual T20 event. The world changed the moment he confessed that the ‘leadership group’ knew about the unfair means adopted by Cameron Bancroft to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test against South Africa in Newlands, Cape Town.

There is buzz in Australia that Smith could be serving a ban of 6-12 months. This could extend to his deputy David Warner too. Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland has already taken an early flight to Cape Town, and a decision is likely to be arrived at, late on Tuesday.

On Monday, RR’s head of cricket Zubin Bharucha said, “Steve believes given the current circumstances it’s in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as captain so the team can get ready for the start of IPL without the ongoing distractions. He would like to extend his gratitude to the BCCI officials and all the fans in India for their constant support.” He further confirmed that India’s Ajinkya Rahane will take charge of the side.

Cricket Australia’s investigation has already begun in Cape Town, and reports sugge­st Warner — who escaped a ban from the ICC — is the chief conspirator. This means, like Smith, Warner too is facing severe punishment. He is set to lead Sunrisers Hyderabad and even that looks unlikely. With the way the events are unfolding in Cape Town, the franchise might need to look at alternate captain.


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