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Australia captain Steve Smith has been accused of ordering ball tampering during the third Test match between Australia and South Africa. Photo: Reuters
Australia captain Steve Smith has been accused of ordering ball tampering during the third Test match between Australia and South Africa. Photo: Reuters

Protecting the IPL

Rajasthan Royals did the sensible thing by removing Steve Smith as captain over the ball tampering row ahead of IPL 2018

The hits just keep on coming for Steve Smith. Temporarily removed as captain of the Australian cricket team—with every sign that the removal will soon be permanent—he has now lost another captaincy. With the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) season about to start, he stepped down—to cast it in a polite light—as captain of the Rajasthan Royals on Monday.

Following revelations of cheating against South Africa that roiled the cricket world over the weekend, the Rajasthan Royals management did the sensible thing; it would have been untenable and needlessly distracting to allow Smith to keep the captaincy. It should, in fact, go further and see to it that he does not play this year.

No team is innocent of the occasional bit of gamesmanship. But the premeditated manner in which Smith and his compatriots went about it and the lengths to which they went are disgraceful. And it makes their protestations of innocence in past instances—such as Smith allegedly gaming the Decision Review System in the Test series with India last year—hugely suspect.

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