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Australia's build up to the World Cup has been less than ideal, with Steve Smith and David Warner serving suspensions

Smith, Warner stand down as captain and vice-captain

Australia news

The duo will continue to be a part of the remainder of the Cape Town Test, with Tim Paine taking charge as the skipper.

Steve Smith and David Warner will stand down as captain and vice-captain of the Australia Test side for the remainder of the ongoing third Test in Cape Town, it was confirmed by James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia (CA) Chief Executive Officer, on Sunday 25 March.

Both Smith and Warner will take the field, though, with Tim Paine, the wicket-keeper, standing in as captain for the remainder of the game.

The decision comes on the back of the ongoing ball-tampering issue, with Cameron Bancroft caught on cameras using what is believed to be a tape before attempting to hide the object on the third day of the Cape Town Test.

Bancroft and Smith acknowledged their misdeed immediately after play
Bancroft and Smith acknowledged their misdeed immediately after play

Smith and Bancroft admitted to the offence after play on the day, and Bancroft was charged by the International Cricket Council for altering the condition of the ball. A contrite Smith and Bancroft later addressed a press conference, admitting to ball-tampering and apologising for their actions.

“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 said in a statement. “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. All Australians, like us, want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings, as a matter of priority.”

On Saturday, Smith took responsibility for Bancroft’s action, saying, “It was the leadership group's idea. Poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren't involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this. I am not proud of what's happened. It's not within the spirit of the game.”

Smith, interestingly, had refused to reconsider his captaincy role in the immediate aftermath of the incident. “I won't consider stepping down. I still think I am the right person for the job," he had said. “Today was a big mistake on my part and on the leadership group as well. I have to take control of the ship. This is something I am not proud of. It's something I hope I can learn from and come back from. I am embarrassed. It is a big error in judgement."

'This behaviour calls into question the integrity of the team and Cricket Australia' - James Sutherland
'This behaviour calls into question the integrity of the team and Cricket Australia' - James Sutherland

Earlier on Sunday, Sutherland confirmed that CA would investigate the matter, with Iain Roy, the Head of Integrity, and Pat Howard, the High Performance Manager, set to travel to South Africa in an attempt to get a clearer picture before further action is taken against players and staff involved.

Sutherland said CA were “extremely disappointed and shocked with what we woke up to this morning”, adding, “we are dealing with this issue with the utmost urgency and seriousness”.

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) also came down hard on the team's leadership group, releasing a statement saying, "The ASC condemns cheating of any form in sport. The ASC expects and requires that Australian teams and athletes demonstrate unimpeachable integrity in representing our country.

Cameron Bancroft was questioned by the umpires
Cameron Bancroft was questioned by the umpires

"The Australian cricket team are iconic representatives of our country. The example they set matters a great deal to Australia and to the thousands of young Australians playing or enjoying the sport of cricket and who look up to the national team as role models.

"Given the admission by Australian captain Steve Smith, the ASC calls for him to be stood down immediately by Cricket Australia, along with any other members of the team leadership group or coaching staff who had prior awareness of, or involvement in, the plan to tamper with the ball. This can occur while Cricket Australia completes a full investigation."

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