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Ball-tampering scandal, as it happened: Lehmann to step down as Australia coach after 4th Test; Somerset sack Bancroft

Date: Thursday, 29 March, 2018 22:42 IST Match Status: Yet to Start
  • So that brings us to end of today's coverage. Keep follow Firstpost for more news and updates on the ball-tampering scandal. Until next time, goodbye. 

  • ICMYI: Kane Williamson has been appointed as the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain for the upcoming season, after David Warner stepped down due to his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal. 

  • David Warner is yet to address the media after formally after the Sandpaper Gate. It was reported that he is going to challenge the ban. But there has been no confirmation about it. 

  • Do you agree? 

  • RCB's Parthiv Patel feels Australia ball-tampering scandal will not affect tournament's brand value. Read about his thoughts here


  • The ball tampering incident should not define Steve Smith and his two fallen teammates, according to Indian batsman Rohit Sharma. 

    Read why

  • James Sutherland: Darren Lehmann is the coach for this Test and I wish him and the team all the best

  • James Sutherland: I'm not resigning and what's happened over the last few days has only strengthened my resolve.

  • James Sutherland: (On Lehmann) Darren Lehmann has provided fantastic service and been part of a successful team that won a World Cup and a couple of Ashes ... his work ethic has been terrific and he genuinely cares for and loves his players

  • James Sutherland is addressing the media. Quotes to follow.

  • Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry has said Bancroft would not be the club's overseas player for the 2018 season.

    Read the club's statement here

  • Somerset's statement: I have met this morning with the CEO, Club Captain and Head Coach and with the Club’s best interests at the centre of our decision can confirm Cameron Bancroft will not be our overseas player for the 2018 season.

  • Somerset announce that Cameron Bancroft will no longer be their overseas player for the 2018 season.

  • I think he's one of the good guys and he's just been caught in a bad place — Faf du Plessis said in a pre-match press conference. 

    Read about it here

  • Lehmann: As many who sit in this room will know, life on the road means a lot of time away from loved ones and after speaking to my family, it is the right time to step away. I hope the team rebuilds and the Australian public can forgive the young men and get behind the XI

  • Reports also suggest that Sutherland has confirmed he is not resigning. 

  • Lehmann: Saying goodbye to the players was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do

  • Reports coming in that Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland will address the media in an hour. 

  • Rohit Sharma releases a statement. 

  • JUST IN: Darren Lehmann to step down as Australia head coach after the fourth Test.

  • Steve Smith has been getting an outpouring of sympathy from cricketers and fans alike after his emotional press conference right after landing in Sydney. However, that isn't exactly the case with former vice-captain David Warner. 

    Here are the latest reactions from the cricketing fraternity on Twitter to Smith's presser

  • "I made a serious error of judgement and I now understand the consequences. It was a failure of leadership…my leadership. I’ll do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it has caused. If any good can come of this, it would be a lesson to others and I hope I can be a force of change," said disgraced former Australia captain Steve Smith after landing in Sydney.

    Read the full text of his emotional statement at the press conference here

  • On this day, three years ago, Steve Smith hit the winning runs for Australia against New Zealand in the final of the 2015 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, guiding the side to their fifth world title. 

    Three years later, Smith might have experienced the worst and the most emotional day of his life so far. 

  • Just a few reactions to the emotional Steve Smith press conference coming in from various cricketers. 

  • Meanwhile, Bancroft has apologised for his act of trying to scuff up the ball, which got picked up on cameras all around the stadium that eventually spiralled into the scandal that is dominating headlines across the cricketing world. 

    The Western Australian batsman added that he had never committed such an offense in the past, and that he is committed towards making a comeback.

    Read the full story here

  • Watch Steve Smith's emotional press conference 

  • Do you think one-year bans for Steve Smith and David Warner are excessive? Have your say on our poll:

  • Michael Clarke is also stunned by Smith's press conference

  • Mitchell Johnson reacts to Steve Smith's press conference 

  • Steve Smith says it hurts him to see his parents hurt

    An emotional Steve Smith says, "To see my old man in pain and to see my mom hurt. It is devastating and I'm truly sorry."

  • Smith 'sorry for pain he's brought Australia and fans'

    "It hurts ... I'm deeply sorry. I love the game of cricket. I love entertaining young kids ... I just want to say sorry for the pain I've brought to Australia, to the fans and the public," Smith says.

  • Smith says he hopes he can be a force for change 

    "If any good can come of this, if there can be a lesson to others then I hope I can be a force for change. I know I'll regret this for the rest of my life. I'm absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness," Smith says.

  • Steve Smith's emotional apology to fans and teammates

    "To all of my teammates, to fans of cricket all over the world and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry. I'm sorry," Smith says.

  • Steve Smith says he's absolutely devastated

    "Cricket is the greatest sport in the world. It's been my life and I hope it can be again. I'm sorry and I'm absolutely devastated," Smith says.

  • Smith says he doesn't blame anyone but him

    "I don't blame anyone. I'm the captain of the Australian team. It's on my watch and I take responsibility for what happened last Saturday," Smith says.

  • Steve Smith says this is first time his team have tampered with the ball

    On being asked by a journalist if this is the first time his team have tampered with the ball, he said, "This is the first time this has happened. And I am sure this will never be happening again."

  • Steve Smith says Sandpapergate is failure of his leadership

    An emotional Steve Smith almost breaks down while addressing the media. "I take full responsibility ... There was a failure of leadership, of my leadership. I'll do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it's caused."

  • Cameron Bancroft says he'll regret actions for rest of his life

    Bancroft said: "I want to say I'm very sorry... I'm very disappointed and I regret my actions... It is something I'll regret for rest of my life.

    "I lied. I lied about the sandpaper. I panicked in that situation and I'm very sorry ... I feel like I've let everyone down in Australia.

    "The thing that breaks my heart the most is that I've given up my spot in team for free. I worked so hard to get to this point and to have given up that chance for free is devastating.

    "I have never ever been involved in tampering the ball (before now). Ball-tampering clearly compromises my values and what I stand for as a player and as a person. It's going to be a really long road, particularly for myself, to earn that respect back but for me that's the most important thing. It's so big because the action of doing it is completely wrong. For me to carry that out in front of world cricket, it's completely how cricket shouldn't be played."

  • Smith, Warner and Bancroft could be barred from county cricket, reports say

    According to The Sun, the trio at the heart of Sandpapergate could also see the door for county cricket shut on their faces as the furore over the scandal continues. Bancroft could lose his Somerset contract, while Smith and Warner could also be barred from playing county cricket after the duo were shut out of the IPL earlier.

  • Will Somerset sack Cameron Bancroft?

    Reports coming in from Australia indicate that Somerset are under pressure from their members to sack Cameron Bancroft, who they only signed in December last year. The Australian cricketer was due to arrive as Somerset's overseas player next month. 

Johannesburg: Disgraced skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were heading home to an angry Australia Thursday after being banned for a year over a cheating scandal that has left their careers in tatters and sponsors deserting the game.

Cricket Australia said they had been suspended from "all international and domestic cricket" while opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was exiled for nine months over the ball-tampering incident during the third Test in South Africa.

Their fall from grace has been dramatic, and fast, with cricket chiefs bowing to uproar at home where sportsmen and women are held in high esteem and expected to act in the best interests of the game.

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann, reacts as he speaks, during a media conference in Johannesburg. AP

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann, reacts as he speaks, during a media conference in Johannesburg. AP

Authorities also needed to act decisively to counter mounting concern from sponsors over reputational damage.

CA's response wasn't enough to save an estimated Aus$20 million (US$15 million) partnership with naming rights sponsor Magellan which tore up its three-year contract Thursday after barely seven months.

"A conspiracy by the leadership of the Australian men's Test cricket team which broke the rules with a clear intention to gain an unfair advantage during the third Test in South Africa goes to the heart of integrity," said the fund manager's chief Hamish Douglass.

"Regrettably, these recent events are so inconsistent with our values that we are left with no option but to terminate our ongoing partnership with Cricket Australia."

The financial cost for the players is also growing with sporting goods company ASICS ending its relationship with Warner and Bancroft. Electronics giant LG axed Warner on Wednesday.

Other team sponsors, including Qantas and Commonwealth Bank, have voiced their deep disappointment over the scandal but so far have taken no action.

Smith, a golden boy compared to Donald Bradman for his batting exploits, is reportedly a broken man.

He was jeered as he made his way through Johannesburg airport on Wednesday surrounded by police and media and will face the music at home with a press conference scheduled for Thursday evening.

There are also concerns over his mental state in the current rabid climate, with coach Darren Lehmann calling for all three men to be "given a second chance".

The Australian newspaper said Smith, used to being on a pedestal, had been a tearful wreck since the scandal broke and there were fears that his life might unravel during his exile.

"He deserves to feel the pain of exile," the newspaper said. "But then another mission starts to ensure the grief that is crippling him at the moment does not destroy him."

Former great Shane Warne, no stranger himself to controversy, offered the trio an olive branch despite days of a harsh and judgemental Australian public baying for blood.

"What the public wants to see is change. They want to see you be a better person," he wrote in a column for the Sydney Daily Telegraph. "They'll support you if they see that, and they'll forgive you."

Smith — the world's No 1 Test batsman — was charged with knowledge of the potential ball-altering plan, while Warner was charged with developing the plot and instructing Bancroft to carry it out.

CA said Bancroft, who has played just eight Tests, had attempted to "artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper".

CA added Smith had continued to try to cover up the plot by issuing "misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent and participants of the plan".

In a further blow, it ruled Smith and Bancroft would not be considered for team leadership positions until a minimum of 12 months after the end of their suspensions, and Warner will never lead again.

While they are banned from top level cricket, they can still play at club level in Australia or in other countries.

However, both Smith and Warner have been ejected from this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), losing contracts worth nearly US$2 million each.

While they have been banished, Lehmann remains in charge because Cricket Australia said he was unaware of what was going on.

"As a coach you feel for them as people," Lehmann said in Johannesburg.

"They are young men and I hope people will give them a second chance. Their health and well-being is extremely important to us. I worry about them mentally."

Wicketkeeper Tim Paine will take over the Australian captaincy for the fourth and final Test starting in Johannesburg on Friday, with hosts South Africa leading a bad-tempered series 2-1.

Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns have been flown into Johannesburg to replace the exiled trio.

With inputs from Agencies

Updated Date: Mar 29, 2018

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