Still respect Steve Smith as captain after ball tampering incident, says Mitchell Starc

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Former Australia captain Steve Smith and former vice-captain David Warner were banned for a year, while Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months after the ball-tampering controversy.

With Australia set to travel to England for the 5-match ODI series, two months after the ball-tampering controversy, seamer Mitchell Starc, who is not included in the limited-overs squad, said that he continues to have faith in the former skipper Steve Smith. In a piece written on his official website, the 27-year old wrote that the relationship between the Australia team is intact, in spite of several reports suggesting otherwise.

“Despite reports to the contrary, I continue to have the utmost respect for Steve Smith as captain, team-mate, and friend and I look forward to having him back in our great game soon. That goes for David and Cameron who have also been through an extremely tough time,” he said.

Starc’s statement came in the wake of a recent report that suggested that the fast bowler criticised Smith and Bancroft for the press conference after the latter was caught on the cameras trying to change the state of the ball in Cape Town. “Going back to what Sue (Cato, a public relations consultant) said before about being upfront and tackling a problem head-on, that’s something the group who decided to go into a press conference didn’t really think about. They obviously didn’t see how big the reaction was going to be at that time and then went down the path of not telling the whole truth and then I guess involving another group, which ruined – well, not ruined – but affected other reputations,” he was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia on Friday.



While Smith and Warner received a one-year ban after the ball tampering incident during the Cape Town Test in March, Bancroft received a nine-month. The trio, though, will return to play Premier cricket in Australia and league cricket in Canada from next month. Starc stressed that he is happy to see them get back to the sport.

“It is good to see all three guys planning to be back in cricket soon in different competitions around the world,” he wrote.

He further added that he acknowledges the fact that it will take time to rebuild the trust with the Australian public after the incident. “I look forward to the opportunity to play alongside every one of my teammates from that tour again. We still have a long way to go in rebuilding the trust with the Australian public and I know personally, that I am 100% committed to doing that,” he said.

“Rebuilding trust and developing a positive reputation will take time and through our actions, we hope to demonstrate this to cricket fans everywhere,” the left-armer added.



He further asked fans to stick with the team and watch out for the change in attitude in the England series under a new regime. “The process has already started and the focus now should be on the cricket being played and the stories of performance and change in the current series, led by new Aussie coach Justin Langer, captain Tim Paine and the current team over in the UK. To all stakeholders and fans out there, please stick with us. Trust me when I say we all love the game as much as you do,” he wrote.

Australia will play 5 ODIs and 1 T20I against England starting from June 9, 2018.

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