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STEVE Smith has plunged Australian cricket into its biggest crisis and former greats say he must step down as national captain.

First published March 25

AUSTRALIAN captain Steve Smith and teammate Cameron Bancroft sensationally admitted to ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa on Saturday, plunging cricket into potentially its greatest crisis.

Bancroft was caught on television cameras appearing to rub a yellow object on the ball, and later said: “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I want to be here (in the press conference) because I want to be accountable for my actions.”

Smith is now facing calls for his resignation after admitting that Bancroft did not act alone.

“The leadership group knew about it,” Smith said. “We spoke about it at lunch. I’m not proud of what happened. It’s not in the spirit of the game.”

However, Smith insisted he would not resign. “I still think I’m the right person for the job,” said the 28-year-old. “Obviously today was a big mistake on my behalf and the leadership group’s behalf as well, but I take responsibility. I need to take control of the ship. This is something I’m not proud of … ”

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Guardian: Australia captain Steve Smith gets one-match ban for role in ball tampering row • Smith and David Warner stand down as captain and vice captain. • Tim Paine takes over as Gilchrist calls Australia a ‘laughing stock’

Jason Gillespie, Guardian: Steve Smith must go after scandal that has torched Australia’s reputation

The Conversation: Just not cricket: why ball tampering is cheating

Guardian: Australian cricket ball tampering: coach Darren Lehmann reportedly to resign – live!