Steve Smith eligible to captain Australia as two-year leadership ban post ball-tampering scandal ends

Steve Smith's two-year leadership ban ended quietly on Sunday, leaving him eligible to captain Australia at a time of uncertainty over when international cricket will resume.

The Associated Press, Mar 29, 2020 17:09:23 IST

Sydney: Steve Smith's two-year leadership ban ended quietly Sunday, leaving him eligible again to captain Australia at a time of uncertainty over when international cricket will resume.

Steve Smith eligible to captain Australia as two-year leadership ban post ball-tampering scandal ends

File image of Steve Smith. Reuters

Smith was stripped of the captaincy and banned from leading Australia for two years over his involvement in the 2018 ball tampering scandal in South Africa. His sentence ended Sunday and he can again captain Australia if called upon.

Australian players were due this week to conclude a series of matches in New Zealand and, for some, to join the Indian Premier League. But it wasn't clear Sunday if the IPL will take place this year and when international matches will resume. Australia's scheduled mid-year tours to England and Bangladesh are in doubt.

Smith told Channel Nine television's Sports Sunday he is doing his best to stay mentally and physically fit, training in his home gym, going on 10 kilometer (6 mile) runs and practising the guitar.

"It's obviously not looking likely (the IPL will go ahead) at the moment," Smith said. "I think there might be some meetings over the next few days to discuss what the go is with it all.

"I'm just trying to stay physically and mentally fit and fresh and, if it goes ahead at some point, then great. And if not, there's plenty going on in the world at the moment. So just play it day by day."

It seems unlikely Smith will return to the captaincy when cricket resumes. Tim Paine is firmly established as Australia's Test captain and at 35 is not immediately considering retirement. Aaron Finch has captained Australia successfully in white ball cricket.

The conclusion of Smith's ban ends the period of upheaval in Australian cricket that followed the ball tampering incident in the second Test at Cape Town in 2018 when Cameron Bancroft, with the knowledge of Smith and his vice-captain David Warner, used sandpaper to change the condition of the ball.

Smith and Warner received one-year bans from international and most domestic cricket and Bancroft was banned for nine months. The scandal also resulted in the resignation of coach Darren Lehmann and the departure of Cricket Australia's chief executive, James Sutherland.

Warner remains under a career-long leadership ban.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia has delayed the announcement of its annual list of contracted players because of the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

CA had planned to bring forward the announcement from May to April to give more certainty to state cricket associations. But the announcement has now been delayed at least until the end of April with the agreement of the Australian Cricket Players' Association.

Updated Date: Mar 29, 2020 17:09:23 IST



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IPL 2020 POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Chennai
0 0 0 0 0
2
Delhi
0 0 0 0 0
3
Kolkata
0 0 0 0 0
4
Punjab
0 0 0 0 0
5
Mumbai
0 0 0 0 0
6
Bangalore
0 0 0 0 0
7
Rajasthan
0 0 0 0 0
8
Hyderabad
0 0 0 0 0
View Full Table




Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5211 116
2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
6 Sri Lanka 4191 91
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
6 New Zealand 7114 245