SA vs AUS 2018: Steve Smith's captaincy is almost over after sandpaper gate scandal, says Jason Gillespie

Smith has been suspended for one Test by ICC after the scandal.

Steve Smith is finding it difficult to answer questions hurled at him. ( Cricket Australia)

Australian skipper Steve Smith has played a huge role in tarnishing the reputation of the national side after his recent involvement in the ball tampering controversy. 

Former Australian pacer Jason Gillespie has spoke about his doubts over Steve Smith's future as Australian skipper and also questioned the integrity of Darren Lehmann as the Australian coach. 

Australian cricket has been humiliated and rocked after Smith – who received a one-match ban from the ICC – conceded the team's leadership group were behind the ball-tampering scandal that overshadowed day three in Cape Town, where the Proteas romped to a 322-run victory on Sunday.

Gillespie – who played 71 Tests for Australia and claimed 259 wickets – weighed into the incident, writing for the Guardian: "Steve Smith's time as Australia's captain is surely up. It is impossible to envisage a scenario where he stays in the job. This is a train wreck."

"When Smith fronted the media on Saturday to explain his role in the ball-tampering scandal, one that has taken an already distasteful encounter with South Africa to new depths, he did not appear to grasp the severity of what he was owning up to. That simply beggared belief."

Gillespie continued: "The brutal reality is that this team are seen as arrogant and all too quick to dictate 'the line' to others. It was not so long ago that Warner was ripping into Faf du Plessis for ball-tampering in 2016, saying Australia would never do the same. The events over the weekend have exposed this as rank hypocrisy."

"It is little wonder the fallout has been so huge and sympathy for Australia has been in such short supply. Because for all the good cricket played in this series against South Africa – and we are watching two excellent sides – the atmosphere has stunk and it has made the viewing less enjoyable than it should be."

Gillespie next targeted Australian coach Darren Lehmann's involvement in the matter. "Where Darren Lehmann fits into this is anyone's guess. Smith insisted the head coach knew nothing of the scheme during the lunch break. We have not spoken since but I would be amazed if this was not the case and that the moves he made when it all unravelled on the field were not done on instinct to protect his players."

"The Australian men's team will now need to rebuild public trust from scratch," Gillespie added. "What must happen is a period of serious introspection. There are some fine individuals in the set-up, trust me, but as a team, they need to re-examine how they play the game, along with their behaviour and image overall."

Australia now will head off into the last Test of the series at Johannesburg without their regular skipper Steve Smith in a bid to level the series. 


By Anshuman Roy - 26 Mar, 2018

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