Smith and Warner banned for 12 months

424

Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-skipper David Warner have been banned for a year for ball-tampering.

Cameron Bancroft, who carried out the cheating in South Africa, was given a nine-month ban by Cricket Australia.

The three had already been sent home from Australia’s tour – before a fourth Test begins on Friday – amid widespread condemnation stretching beyond sport.

Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had said the affair “bitterly disappointed the whole nation”.

Smith, 28, and Bancroft, 25, have also been suspended from captaining Australia for at least the next two years.

Warner, 31, will not be considered for “any team leadership positions in the future”, Cricket Australia said.

Cricket Australia’s investigation also confirmed Bancroft used sandpaper to damage the ball during the third Test against South Africa.

It found Smith and Bancroft had made “misleading public comments” when on Saturday they instead claimed it had actually been yellow tape.

Cricket Australia had already concluded that coach Darren Lehmann was not involved in the controversy and he will remain in his post.

The body’s chief executive James Sutherland said the three players were “sad, disappointed and remorseful”.

He added: “This has caused damage to the game as a whole and certainly to Cricket Australia. It has compromised the fans’ faith in cricket and it’s our responsibility to reinstate that confidence.

“It appears to be an isolated incident but if there are other allegations we will take them further. There was some courage in owning up but there was an element of untruth and that’s something we took into consideration.”

Smith, Warner and Bancroft are banned from international and Australian domestic cricket. They will also serve 100 hours of “voluntary service in community cricket” and can appeal against the suspension.

Cricket Australia said the players would be “permitted to play [Australian] club cricket and will be encouraged to do so”.

They also remain eligible for competition outside of Australia, but earlier on Wednesday Smith and Warner were also banned from this season’s Indian Premier League.

In January the pair were signed to the most lucrative Twenty20 contracts ever offered to an Australian player – reportedly worth over £1m each.

Before Wednesday’s IPL ban, Warner stepped down as captain of Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad. Smith stood down as captain of Rajasthan Royals on Monday.

IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said: “The players that they [Cricket Australia] have banned, we are also barring those two players from this season.

“The franchises will get replacements for the players.”

Bancroft is due to play for Somerset this season. On Monday Somerset said they would wait and “collate all the relevant information before considering our next steps”.

After Bancroft’s actions were exposed on Saturday, Smith admitted that the Aussie “leadership group” had devised a plan to tamper with the ball.

Images showed Bancroft take an item out of his trouser pocket before rubbing the ball with it.

After the game, Smith described the events as a “big mistake” but added he would not stand down as captain.

Following the conclusion of the third Test – South Africa won by 322 runs after an Australian batting collapse – the International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Smith for one match and fined him his entire match fee.

Bancroft was fined 75% of his match fee and given three demerit points, while Warner was not punished.

Having begun its own investigation after the match, Cricket Australia told reporters on Tuesday that it would look to sanction the players – in addition to the punishments by the ICC.

Australian cricket commentator Jim Maxwell told BBC Radio 5 live his understanding was that after lunch, Smith saw Bancroft and Warner in “collusion”.

Maxwell said Smith had said to the pair: “What are you blokes doing? I don’t want to know what you’re doing”, before then going out onto the field. (Courtesy BBC)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here