Smith, Warner’s IPL future is in Real Danger

In the wake of the explosive confession of attempting to tamper the condition of the ball in the ongoing Newlands Test against South Africa, the IPL futures of Steven Smith and David Warner – members of the ‘leadership group’ that took the call to indulge in malpractice – is up in the air. IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla issued a statement saying any decision on the pair will be made in the coming one or two days.

At the close of play on Day 3 in Newlands, Smith and Cameron Bancroft made the startling admission in a press conference about the leadership group of the team planning and resorting to ball tampering in order to gain some sort of advantage in a Test that was starting to sway in South Africa’s favour.

That came after Bancroft was clearly captured on cameras, carrying out the transgression – using a yellow tape to scruff up the ball. Once the broadcasters repeatedly aired the footage and even displayed it on the giant screen, Bancroft was seen slipping the yellow tape inside his trousers.

Even as Smith refused to give up captaincy during the course of that media addressal, he and his deputy, Warner, stood down from their respective posts, and wicketkeeper Tim Paine was tasked with standing in for the remainder of the Test.On Sunday, ICC followed their protocol and issued a one-Test suspension and a 100 percent match fee fine for Smith. Bancroft, the man in the eye of the storm, was fined 75 percent of the match fee and had three demerit points added to his record.

“This is a matter of serious concern for all of us. We are waiting for decision of ICC & Cricket Australia before taking any step,” Shukla said on Sunday (March 25).With less than two weeks to go for the start of the eleventh edition of the tournament, Shukla also confirmed that discussions are being held with those concerned – presumably Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the franchises that Smith and Warner are captains of respectively.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Royals too have addressed the situation. “We have been made aware of the controversy of ball tampering in the ongoing Australia – South Africa series and await further instructions from BCCI, before we make any announcement.

“We at Rajasthan Royals will not tolerate any actions that are unfair by definition and bring disrepute to the game of cricket. Our Zero tolerance policy applies to everyone in our team. Please bear with us,” Rajasthan Royals executive chairman Ranjit Barthakur was quoted as saying in an official statement from the franchise.”