Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned for 12 months over the Australia ball-tampering scandal while Cameron Bancroft has been suspended for nine months
Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned from representing their country for a year- with nine months for Cameron Bancroft- after Cricket Australia came down hard on the three players involved in ball-tampering.
The sanctions were announced on Wednesday in a damning statement from the governing body, with Smith also stood down from his captaincy role for a minimum 12 -month period. Warner is stripped of his position as deputy and will never again be considered for a leadership role.
Warner has been painted in the worst light, with Cricket Australia stating that the vice-captain was behind the scheme, and instructed Bancroft to scuff the ball use sandpaper – not sticky tape, as previously claimed – with additional advice on how to do so during the 322 -run third Test defeat to South Africa in Cape Town.
Smith was privy to this but did not prevent it and, along with Bancroft, purposely misinformed the on-field umpires when they stepped in. Both players are also noted to have misinformed the public in their post-play press conference, while Warner is accused of not being truthful with the match referee.
In addition to their national suspension, all three players will be barred from representing their states in the Sheffield Shield during this time and cannot play in the next edition of Australia’s Big Bash League.
Overseas assignments, such as English county cricket and the Indian Premier League, appear to be theoretically permitted. However the latter has now barred Smith and Warner from taking up their respective PS1. 3m deals with Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad this year.
The Cricket Australia chairperson, David Peever, told:” These are significant penalties for professional players and the Board does not enforce them softly. It is hoped that following a period of suspension, the players will be able to return to playing the game they love and eventually rebuild their careers .”
The punishments appear draconian when held up against the one-Test prohibition Smith received from the International Cricket Council. Bancroft was simply fined.
But Cricket Australia and its chief executive, James Sutherland, have been under pressure from the public back home, sponsors and even the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to make an example of those involved.
After an investigation by his head of integrity, Iain Roy, Sutherland had announced on Tuesday evening that no other team-mates or support staff- including head coach Darren Lehmann- had been aware of the scheme hatched during the lunch break at Newlands.
All three have the right to appeal against their punishments- they would get a hearing from an independent commissioner- and have been offered support from the Australian Cricketers’ Association should they choose to go down this road.
Without an IPL berth next month, Smith could now attempt a district cricket bargain. It would allow the world’s No 1 Test batsman to prepare fully for defenses of both the Football world cup and the Ashes on English soil although overseas places in this year’s county summer are now in short supply so close to its start on 13 April.
Whether Warner resumes his international career appears unclear, with the mood in the Australian camp having reportedly turned against him, while his vocal posture in last year’s pay dispute has left few allies at board level. A career on the overseas domestic Twenty2 0 circuit may well beckon.
The 31 -year-old opening batsman, who earlier on Tuesday stood down as captain of his IPL side, before the BCCI ruled out his and Smith’s participation wholly, has also lost a personal sponsorship deal, with LG Australia opting not to renew an expiring deal.
Bancroft, who only made his Test debut in the early stages of Australia’s recent 4-0 Ashes victory, is due to play for Somerset this year and the club have put out two statements thus far saying they are monitoring his situation.
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