Ravichandran Ashwin, Gautam Gambhir Launch Passionate Defence Of Steve Smith

© AFP
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.

Gautam Gambhir

@GautamGambhir
While cricket needs to be corruption-free but feel sanctions on Aussies bit harsh. Are @stevesmith49 & @davidwarner31 paying for revolt for pay hike? History has it administrators deride those who standup for players’ cause. Classic case: Ian Chappell #BallTampering #StevenSmith

7:14 PM – Mar 29, 2018
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The left-hander then backed Smith by saying that the Australian skipper made a mistake but was definitely not a cheat.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Gautam Gambhir

@GautamGambhir
I may be getting emotional but @stevesmith49 doesn’t look to me a cheat. Don’t know about u but I see in him a desperate leader trying to win a Test match for his country, his team. Yes, indeed, his methods were questionable but let’s not label him corrupt #BallTamperingScandal

7:44 PM – Mar 29, 2018
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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.

Ashwin Ravichandran

@ashwinravi99
The world simply wants to see you cry, once you have cried they will feel satisfied and live happily ever after. If only Empathy was not just a Word and people still had it. God give @stevesmith49 and Bancroft all the strength to come out of this.?

9:12 AM – Mar 30, 2018
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Ashwin Ravichandran

@ashwinravi99
Replying to @ashwinravi99
And @davidwarner31 will also need the strength to fight it out, hopefully their players union will provide them with all the support.

9:20 AM – Mar 30, 2018
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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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