The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) said Steve Smith's behaviour had "fallen well below the standard required" and called for a major shift in attitude and culture to preserve the game as the pre-meditated ball-tampering conspiracy, involving the under-fire Australian, escalated. Smith has been banned for one Test by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for his role in a plot that saw team-mate Cameron Bancroft tamper with the ball by using yellow sticky tape during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
The sole authority on the laws of cricket since it was founded in 1787, the Lord's-based MCC reacted to the barrage of criticism for Smith and his beleaguered team.
"Changing the condition of the ball is prohibited under Law 41 concerning Unfair Play. Law 41 also places upon the captains of both sides the responsibility for ensuring that play is carried out in accordance with the spirit of the game as well as within the laws," said MCC assistant secretary John Stephenson.
"The behaviour of some of the players in the current South Africa/Australia series, and other incidents in recent times in the game we all cherish, has fallen well below the standard required to inspire future generations of cricket-loving families."
Facing a fight to save his career having agreed to step down as captain of Australia and his IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals, Smith admitted instructing teammate Bancroft to tamper with the ball during the third Test against South Africa.
"The time has come for a major shift in attitude and culture of all those with responsibility for leadership within the game, to give young players the kind of role models who will uphold standards, preserve cricket and, vitally, the spirit of cricket for future generations."
The MCC said it welcomed the "swift action" of the match officials, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket Australia in responding to the latest scandal to hit the game. The England and Wales Cricket Board announced last week that it is adopting a new law that gives umpires increased power to impose on-field sanctions to punish poor behaviour.
The ICC has adopted a part of the law that empowers the umpire to send off a player for violence on the pitch.