Tears and sympathy: Support grows for Smith over ban

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Mar 2018 10:44:59




A WAVE of sympathy for disgraced Australia skipper Steve Smith gathered pace after his heart-wrenching apology and as opposition grew to the severity of bans handed out in a ball-tampering scandal. Smith’s tearful appearance in front of media helped trigger the resignation of coach Darren Lehmann and also prompted calls to rein in criticism which has verged on hysterical during an extraordinary week for Australian cricket.

Both Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned for 12 months and Cameron Bancroft for nine months for ball-tampering during the third Test in Cape Town.Lehmann, who had earlier warned about the players’ mental state, said he was convinced him to step down by the emotional apologies of Bancroft and Smith, which also drew messages of support.

“Dear Australia, that’s enough now,” ran a headline in British newspaper ‘The Times’. “This was ball-tampering, not murder.”The ball-tampering scandal has unleashed a torrent of vitriol against Smith and Warner in particular, and heavy criticism of a team long perceived as arrogant and out of touch.Australia’s leg-spin great Shane Warne wrote in Sydney’s ‘Daily Telegraph’: “We are all so hurt and angry and maybe we weren’t so sure how to react. We’d just never seen it before.“But the jump to hysteria is something that has elevated the offence beyond what they actually did, and maybe we’re at a point where the punishment just might not fit the crime.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said Smith and Bancroft, who also faced media on Thursday, were “decent guys who had a moment of madness”.“They deserve a 2nd chance and hopefully get the right support around them now ... Takes a lot guts to do what they did today,” he tweeted.The Australian Cricketers’ Association voiced concern over the welfare of the players, and argued that the sanctions were disproportionate compared to other sanctions for ball-tampering. “There are a number of glaring and clear anomalies in the process to date which causes the ACA to query the severity and proportionality of the proposed sanctions,” a statement said.

Warner, a divisive figure who was charged with instructing Bancroft, one of the team’s junior members, to tamper with the ball using sandpaper, is expected to face the media Saturday.Pressure also remains on CA, which has been hit by an exodus of sponsors over the damaging saga and uncertainty surrounding current broadcast rights negotiations.CA’s losses include an estimated Aus$20 million (US$15 million) partnership with naming rights sponsor Magellan, which tore up its three-year contract after barely seven months.

Following the fourth Test in Johannesburg Australia’s next assignment is an ODI series in England that starts in June. Former Test opener Justin Langer is a strong favourite to become Lehmann’s successor, although reports said Australia could name a separate coach for the ODI and Twenty20 teams.

Ashwin says, world will live happily ever after



“THE world simply wants to see you cry...,” lamented India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin while expressing solidarity with the disgraced Steve Smith and David Warner. Ashwin hoped the Australian cricketers can put the ball-tampering scandal behind them. “...Once you have cried they will feel satisfied and live happily ever after. If only Empathy was not just a word and people still had it. God give @stevesmith49 and Bancroft all the strength to come out of this,” tweeted Ashwin. “And @davidwarner31 will also need the strength to fight it out, hopefully their players union will provide them with all the support,” he added. Smith broke down repeatedly at his arrival press conference.

Desperately sorry for Smith: Arthur



FORMER Australia coach Mickey Arthur said he expected Steve Smith to recover from the ball-tampering scandal which has left him with a lengthy ban -- but added that he wasn’t so sure about co-conspirator David Warner.Arthur, now coach of Pakistan, also told AFP that behaviour had sunk to “abysmal” levels in world cricket and needed rapid improvement, after a series of flare-ups in recent months.Smith and Warner, Australia’s captain and vice-captain, were banned for 12 months for a ball-tampering incident in South Africa also involving Cameron Bancroft, who was suspended for nine months.

It has been a dramatic fall for Smith, 28, who was being compared with the legendary Donald Bradman just a few months ago but who broke down in tears during an apology.“I feel desperately sorry for Smith. I know he eats, sleeps and drinks cricket,” said Arthur. “He loves cricket and everything he did. He loved the job, he was passionate about the job. I think he was a very good leader and an unbelievable cricketer.”

Warner to address media today



DAVID Warner will hold a media conference to discuss the issue on Saturday, Cricket Australia (CA) has said. A CA investigation found opener Warner had instructed junior batsman Cameron Bancroft on how to scuff up one half of the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa. CA said on Friday that Warner, who arrived home separately from his former captain, would hold a formal media conference on Saturday.

Local media said it would be held at New South Wales Cricket’s offices. “As you can understand, it has been a tough, emotional time for my wife and kids,” Warner said at Sydney airport. “At the present time, you’ll hear from me in a couple of days. “At the moment, my priority is to get these kids in bed, and rest up and get my mind a bit clear so I can think, and talk in a couple of days.”