Ball tampering scandal could be Australian fans' tipping point

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Steven Smith (capt) and Cameron Bancroft (L) of Australia during day 3 of the 3rd Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and Australia at PPC Newlands on March 24, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull branded the actions of Smith and Bancroft "completely beyond belief" and "a shocking disappointment" and called for Cricket Australia, which is investigating the incident, to take "decisive action soon". It's when and how you admit it. I was not aware of any ball tampering.

Smith insisted it was the first time his team had cheated in this manner, but former England captain Michael Vaughan claimed he is "pretty sure" Australia were ball-tampering during their 4-0 victory in the Ashes, which finished earlier this year.

Smith was fined 100% of match fees and suspended for one Test. Cricket Australia has further opened a probe into the matter, with Smith and vice-captain David Warner stepping down.

Bancroft used yellow sticky tape and grit from the pitch to work on the ball while attempting to shine it. Host broadcasters repeatedly showed the footage of the tampering.

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Now, Smith has admitted he rubber-stamped ball tampering. "I do feel for Steve Smith".

Even if he is cleared of any involvement in the affair, there is clearly a mood overseas in Australia that the standards of behaviour of the national team have dropped too far under Lehmann's leadership. Australians, more than anyone else, have been known to push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour on the cricket field. He was instead fined 75 percent of his fee, warned, and hit by three demerit points.

Australian cricket's investigation into the cheating plot that plunged its team into crisis and threatens the future of its captain and best player began on Monday after two senior officials arrived in South Africa to start work uncovering the extent of the rot.

It was opener Cameron Bancroft and skipper Steve Smith who faced the music and admitted to their involvement, but an internal investigation from Cricket Australia (CA) is expected to place Warner in the middle of the circus as well. "We are in discussions with Cricket Australia as this issue unfolds".

Shukla revealed that if the apex board in Australia finds both Smith and Warner guilty enough to hand them a one-year ban, then they are also likely to hail the decision in the IPL.

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"That's not Australia for me", Smith said of opponents who he said had always played "hard but fair" in his encounters with them over the course of a 12-year global career.

The Tasmanian wouldn't be drawn on whether Smith and coach Darren Lehmann should continue in their posts.

AdNews approached several of Cricket Australia's sponsors to gauge a response from the brands backing Australia's national sport.

Smith, widely accepted as the world's best batsman of the current generation, has been reduced to a villain, with former Australian cricketers deeming his return to lead the team as untenable. Do a cricketing nation as proud as Australia really want a cheat in charge?

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