Buchanan: ‘Smith’s career as captain is finished’

Former Australia coach John Buchanan believes the decision taken by Cricket Australia after completing the investigation could be alarming.

Former Australia coach John Buchanan believes Steve Smith (in pic) had no choice but admit his mistake.   -  AP

 

Former Australia coach John Buchanan believes that Steven Smith did not have much of a choice but to accept his involvement in the ball-tampering saga, which rocked the cricketing world on Saturday.

Speaking to Sportstar from Brisbane, Australia’s two-time World Cup winning coach, spoke at length on tampering gate and why Smith’s career as a captain is finished.

Excerpts…

Even as Australian cricket faces a major crisis, a section of the cricketing fraternity feels that Steven Smith should be hailed for showing the courage to admit his mistake...

He did not have a choice. He had to admit it because the act was caught on camera and being the captain of the side, he was accountable to those decisions. In the press conference, obviously, he made it clear that he was part of the decision and the process as well.

Smith and his men spoke of the ‘leadership group’ being aware of the plan. In the Australian cricketing system, generally who are the members that form this ‘leadership group’?

Well, it would differ from team to team and person to person, but generally, a leadership group involves captain, vice-captain, some senior players and generally the head coach. But is it the case here? Well, I do not know.

While the players are being bashed, not a word has come on the involvement of the coaching staff. Do you think that should be looked into?

They should definitely look into it. Cricket Australia (CA) has already sent two of its officials, and their job right at the moment, is to investigate how the decision was made, why it was made, and who made it? Or was it that too many people made the plan? It is very important that they understand all the facts and can see who should be punished by CA, based on what has happened. As the ruling body, the ICC has already sanctioned Smith and Bancroft.

Is Smith’s quantum of punishment — one Test suspension and 100 per cent match fee deduction enough?

No, I think the decision that CA would take after completing its investigation could be alarming. I doubt whether Smith will be offered the Australian cricket team’s captaincy ever again. I will expect that Smith should ideally resign from the captaincy and then of course, CA will have to find a new captain for the rest of the series. They have to pick the right people as the captain and the vice-captain. I think Smith’s career as captain is finished.

John Buchanan

 

Even if Smith returns to the side as a player, do you think, he will be respected by young players?

They won’t respect the decision he has made in South Africa, they won’t respect him for the disrepute he has brought to Australian cricket. However, they will respect his cricketing abilities and I think they would respect his ability to help the youngsters with his experience while playing together. So as a normal player, there will be mutual respect between him and other players. On the leadership aspect, I think that’s a different matter altogether.

Many in the fraternity feel that Bancroft was made the scapegoat. Do you subscribe to this thought?

Look, in the press conference, Smith and Bancroft admitted that there was a plan. As per the planning, Bancroft was chosen to deliver the plan on-field. I am not sure why he was chosen, but he did not refuse. He should consider himself fortunate for not losing matches and just match fees.

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