Steve Smith
Steve Smith conceded he had orchestrated ball-tampering incident on Saturday, March 24.STR/AFP/Getty Images

Even as former cricketers and fans are calling on Steve Smith to resign as Australia cricket team captain after he admitted his involvement in the much-talked-about ball-tampering controversy, a few on Twitter are also demanding Rajasthan Royals to sack the 28-year-old as skipper for the upcoming 11th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL).

Cameron Bancroft, the most junior member of the team, was charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after he was caught on television cameras using a yellow tape to alter the condition of the cricket ball during the third day of the ongoing third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Smith rules out stepping down as Australia captain

Following the end of the day's play, skipper Smith confessed to having orchestrated the ball tampering along with "leadership group" — senior members of the team. The right-handed batsman insisted he was "embarrassed" about the incident but maintained he wouldn't step down as captain.

The incident comes as a big blow to Australian cricket team's reputation and is being considered as the worst captaincy crisis since 1981 when former skipper Greg Chappell advised his younger brother Trevor to bowl the last ball of a 50-over match against New Zealand underarm to secure a victory, according to Reuters.

Going by the book, Smith and his men may escape serious consequences as ball-tampering is a Level 2 offense which can lead to one-match suspension and 100 percent match fee as fine.

Smith faces heat from former cricketers, Royals fans

Several members of the cricket fraternity, including former cricketers, are hoping Cricket Australia (CA), which has launched a probe into the incident, strips Smith of national team captaincy.

While former Australia captain Michael Clarke called Smith's actions "blatant cheating", his English counterpart Michael Vaughn expressed shock at the way 25-year-old Bancroft was used as a pawn by the senior pros.

"Unfortunately this is blatant cheating and Steve Smith will have to step down as Australian captain, former Australia fast bowler Rodney Hogg wrote on Twitter.

The ball-tampering saga, which has been labeled as #SandPaperGate by social media users, has left the Royals in a tricky situation.

The Rajasthan-based IPL franchise, who are coming back to the league after serving a two-year suspension over corruption charges, had retained Smith for Rs 12.5 crore even before the auctions held in January.

While one cannot question Smith's ability to deliver results as captain and his credentials as top-order batsman, the Royals should be worried about the reputation of their brand. 

IBTimes, India has compiled a list of reactions from IPL fans to Smith's involvement in the ball-tampering incident. Check them out here.

 Notably, this is not the first time Smith is involved in a stunning controversy. The Australia captain had received flak for seeking help from the dressing room over a DRS call during the second Test of a four-match series in India last year. 

India skipper Virat Kohli stopped short of calling Smith a "cheater" after the latter admitted he had suffered a "brain fade" during the said Test.