Ravichandran Ashwin, Gautam Gambhir Launch Passionate Defence Of Steve Smith

Steve Smith has come under heavy fire from all quarters for his role in the ball-tampering scandal that has shook world cricket. The 28-year-old broke down while addressing the media on Thursday, accepting full responsibility for the controversy that has resulted in a one-year ban for both him and his deputy David Warner and a nine-month ban for Cameron Bancroft. Following Smith’s emotional press conference, Indian cricketers Ravichandran Ashwin and Gautam Gambhir jumped to the Australian’s defence, making a passionate plea to the rest of the world to tone down the criticism of Smith and the other cricketers involved.

Gambhir first questioned in a tweet whether Smith was being dealt with harshly by Cricket Australia for a pay hike revolt by the Australian seniors.

The left-hander then backed Smith by saying that the Australian skipper made a mistake but was definitely not a cheat.

Following Gambhir’s comments on Twitter, Ashwin too took to the social media platform and made a passionate plea for all the three Australian cricketers involved in the ball-tampering saga.

Smith and Warner was on Wednesday banned from cricket for 12 months. Bancroft was slapped with nine months ban by Cricket Australia.

Smith was charged with knowledge of a potential plan “to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball” but Warner was charged with developing the plan.

While Warner, who was the vice-captain of the Australian team, will not be considered ever for the leadership role of the national team, Smith and Cameron Bancroft would not be picked for captaincy until a minimum of 12 months after the end of their suspensions, Cricket Australia (CA) said in a statement.

Smith and Warner have also been ejected from this year’s Indian Premier League, losing contracts worth up to USD 2 million each.

All three players will also be required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket.

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