At a hastily-convened press conference this morning, Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said that he is “disappointed” by the actions of Steve Smith, after he admitted to his involvement in ball-tampering, but it appears that the organisation is sticking by the troubled captain, at least for now.

Sutherland told gathered reporters:

“Australian cricket fans want to be proud of their team, but this morning they have every reason not to be. It’s a very sad day for cricket … Cricket is a game to be played within the laws of the game and the spirit of the game, and activities yesterday in Cape Town are neither.”

Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft fronted up to a press conference overnight, after Bancroft was caught attempting to tamper with a ball. Smith admitted that the Aussie team’s “leadership” had discussed ball-tampering, but insisted coach Darren Lehmann was not aware or involved.

Sutherland claimed to be “disappointed and shocked” at Smith’s actions, and while he did not respond to questions about immediate disciplinary action, he said that he will be sending Cricket Australia integrity officers to South Africa to conduct an investigation.

Saying that Smith’s confession “can’t be the end of it”, Sutherland promised that “we will over the next couple of days get a deep understanding of what happened and why”, saying that Head of Integrity Ian Roy will be preparing a “full report” into the matter.

He promised that Cricket Australia will address the issue “with the upmost urgency and seriousness”, but when asked again whether Smith’s position as captain is still tenable, he said only:

“Steve Smith is currently the captain of the Australian team … we are working through the process over the next few days [and] will know more once Ian submit his report … Right now, my feeling, and it’s a feeling shared by Australian cricket fans, is we are shocked and disappointed by what we saw on the field.”

When asked about Darren Lehman’s role in the affair, Sutherland refused to speculate, and he likewise did not answer questions about whether any other player on the team might be caught up in ball-tampering.

Source: Fox Sports
Image: Getty Images / Michael Dodge