Canberra: Steve Smith and David Warner, former Australia captain and vice-captain respectively, have been banned for a 12 month period by Cricket Australia. The verdict has come after an investigation into the ball-tampering controversy. Also involved in the cheating case, Cameron Bancroft has been banned for nine months. Smith and Warner have also been banned from captaining Australia for a period of two years.
Smith and Warner will be back in time for the ICC World Cup in England and then the Ashes. Bancroft, meanwhile, returns in time for summer with India to tour Australia at the time.
All players have the right to appeal their verdicts and also the duration of their penalties via a Cricket Australia code of conduct hearing with an independent commissioner, who can also choose whether to keep the hearing public or private. The players are due to depart for Australia on Wednesday with Smith to speak publicly upon his arrival in Sydney.
On Tuesday, CA chief executive James Sutherland revealed the trio of Smith, Warner and Bancroft were the only members in the Australian squad or support staff who had any knowledge of the plan to deliberately alter the condition of the ball. They were found to have breached Article 2.3.5 of the Code of Conduct, which relates to conduct at any time that is contrary to the spirit of the game, unbecoming of a representative, harmful to the interests of the game, or bringing the game into disrepute.
The players were informed of their “significant sanctions” in the team hotel in Johannesburg before leaving for Australia.
With the three players returning home, Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell have been called up as their replacements for the fourth Test starting Friday.
The incident that led to the entire controversy and the subsequent suspensions took place during South Africa’s innings on Saturday afternoon when Bancroft was captured on TV cameras holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers. The players were later questioned by the two on-field umpires, who, along with third umpire and fourth umpire, later charged Bancroft. After Saturday’s play, Smith and Bancroft admitted to tampering with the ball. The plan to alter the condition of the ball was made at Lunch break between senior players, which later emerged as Smith and Warner, without the consent of the coaching staff.
Cricket Australia on ball-tampering controversy
The Cricket Australia Board has received preliminary findings of the investigation into last weekend’s events in Cape Town involving the Australian Men’s Cricket Team.
Following this, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has officially reported Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for breaching article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct.
All three players reported will depart South Africa tomorrow. The replacement players will fly to Johannesburg over the next 24 hours to join the squad for the Fourth Test against South Africa.
The three replacement players are Matthew Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns.
The Cricket Australia Board has endorsed Tim Paine as Captain of the Australian Men’s Test Team.
Sanctions are expected to be announced within the next 24 hours.
The preliminary findings have confirmed that prior knowledge of the incident in Cape Town was confined to only the three players reported.
Cricket Australia Chairman, David Peever said:
“We understand and share the anger of fans and the broader Australian community about the events that unfolded in Cape Town on Saturday.
“This issue goes beyond the technical nature of the offences and various codes of conduct. It is about the integrity and reputation of Australian Cricket and Australian sport.
“Ultimately, it is about whether Australians can feel proud of their national sporting teams.
“That depends as much on the way the players conduct themselves, as it does about winning or losing.
“It is about how we play the game,” Peever concluded.
Cricket Australia CEO, James Sutherland said:
“In view of the broader reputational and integrity issues involved, the sanctions that will be contemplated are significant. The process must, therefore, be thorough to ensure that all relevant issues have been examined.
“I understand the appetite for urgency given the reputation of Australia as a sporting nation has been damaged in the eyes of many. However, urgency must be balanced with due process given the serious implications for all involved.
“In addition to sanctions for individuals, Cricket Australia will initiate an independent review into the conduct and culture of our Australian men’s teams.
“We will have more to say about this review in the coming days, but it will be conducted by an expert panel who will report to the Cricket Australia Board,” Sutherland concluded.
Mr Sutherland also indicated strong support for ICC Chief Executive Officer David Richardson’s comments on Sunday that the game needs to have a hard look at itself, to improve standards of behaviour across the board.