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Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner have stepped down from their respective leadership positions following the ball tampering incident that has shocked the cricketing world.
Following the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, Smith and Australia opener Cameron Bancroft admitted that they had attempted to alter the condition of the ball.
Their admission came after Bancroft was caught taking a mysterious yellow paper-like item out of his pocket and putting it down his trousers.
Cricket Australia have since confirmed that they will launch an investigation into the incident, and added that further action will be taken against those involved.
Given the severity of the situation and the fact that Smith admitted Australia’s leadership group had planned the idea, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland admitted that it was best for Smith and Warner to step aside from their leadership roles for the last two days of the Test match.
“Following discussions with Steve Smith and David Warner they have agreed to stand down as Captain and Vice-Captain respectively for the remainder of this Test match,” Sutherland was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “This Test match needs to proceed, and in the interim we will continue to investigate this matter with the urgency that it demands.
“As I said earlier today, Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met.”
Cricket Australia chairman David Peever confirmed that wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine will assume the role of captain on an interim basis.
“The Board of Cricket Australia has endorsed Tim Paine to step in as Acting Captain for the remainder of this Test,” he said. “Both Steve and David will take to the field today under Tim’s captaincy.
“The Board fully supports the process for an immediate investigation into what occurred in Cape Town. We regard this as a matter of the utmost seriousness and urgency. We will ensure we have all information available to make the right decisions for Australian Cricket.”