MUMBAI: Even as the ball tampering fiasco in South Africa unravels and Cricket Australia sent captain Steve Smith, vice captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft back home, South Korean home appliances giant LG Electronics - announced Wednesday that its current deal with the opening batsman, which was in its final weeks, would not be renewed.
This was soon followed by the announcement that Warner has stepped down as captain of Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad. It is worth noting that rival IPL team Rajasthan Royals had removed Smith as skipper soon after the scandal broke.
“In light of recent events, David Warner has stepped down as captain,” Sunrisers chief executive K Shanmugam said of Warner, who led the side to their first IPL title in 2016.
In a similar vein, an LG spokeswoman said: “In light of recent events, we have decided not to renew our partnership. LG Australia will always look to work with ambassadors that share our core brand values and we take these relationships incredibly seriously to ensure we put our customers, employees and stakeholders first.”
Warner, who signed with LG in late 2014, is also brand ambassador of Gray-Nicolls, Asics, Channel Nine, Toyota and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
In a related development, Sanitarium removed all references to Smith from the website of its breakfast cereal Weet-Bix. The wholly owned subsidiary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church said it was awaiting the results of the investigation by Cricket Australia.
Meanwhile, the BCCI has made it clear that the two Australian team stalwarts will be automatically booted out of the IPL if Cricket Australia bans them.
Speaking to CricketNext, a senior BCCI official said: “To be honest, I don’t understand what all the cry is about. If the CA goes ahead and bans them, there is no way that the IPL franchises can accommodate them, just like Andre Russell had to skip the IPL after he was caught violating doping clauses. If CA says that they have decided to ban the two players, that is where it all ends for them as far as IPL 11 is concerned. The IPL GC actually has no role.”
Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad had retained Smith and Warner for Rs 120 million and Rs 125 million, respectively. In contrast, Cricket Australia’s annual contract is worth Rs 60 million for Smith and Rs 45 million for Warner.
According to Hindustan Times, Warner’s IPL career income till date is approximately more than Rs 45.70 crore while Smith’s career earnings from IPL is around 32.9 crore.
Jaimie Fuller, executive chairman of the Skins compression wear group of companies, said Cricket Australia’s reputation was on the line due to the ball-tampering scandal.
In a full-page advertisement in Australian newspapers, Fuller pointed out that cricket was more than just a game in Australia.
“Cricket is such a part of our national psyche that it helps define us. It helps give us a sense of what is fair, and what is not; what is right and what is wrong. Even though you (Cricket Australia) are presiding over the sport, it doesn’t belong to you. You are the custodians of it. And now you must get your job right.”
The Royals have already removed Smith as captain and, according to a top source of The Telegraph, his continuing even as an ordinary player is now "wholly untenable."