(SportsMax) Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned from all international and Australian domestic cricket for 12 months by Cricket Australia (CA) following their roles in the ball-tampering scandal that has overshadowed their country’s Test series with South Africa, while Cameron Bancroft has received a nine-month suspension.
Reports on Wednesday suggested the trio would face severe sanctions after being identified as the players involved in a pre-meditated plan that saw Bancroft attempt to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test.
Having been charged with breaches of the CA code of conduct on Tuesday and removed from Australia’s Test squad, Smith, Warner and Bancroft have now had their punishments determined by the governing body’s board.
Smith and Warner had respectively served as captain and vice-captain of Australia prior to this controversy. Both Smith and Bancroft will not be eligible for future leadership roles for a minimum of 12 months after serving their bans, while Warner – who has been deemed the instigator of the incident by CA – will never again be considered for such a position.
Although Bancroft admitted to using yellow tape to tamper with the ball, CA has said sandpaper was in fact used and Warner has been charged with providing instructions on how to use it. Smith’s punishment partially relates to the fact he knew of the plan and failed to stop it, before also misleading match officials regarding Bancroft’s attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball.
All three individuals can lodge appeals. Smith is expected to address the media when he arrives in Sydney.
In a statement, CA chairman David Peever said: “As I indicated yesterday, the CA board understands and shares the anger of fans and the broader Australian community about these events. They go to the integrity and reputation of Australian cricket and Australian sport and the penalties must reflect that.
“These are significant penalties for professional players and the board does not impose them lightly. 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.”
CA chief executive James Sutherland added: “I am satisfied that the sanctions in this case properly reflect a balance between the need to protect the integrity and reputation of the game and the need to maintain the possibility of redemption for the individuals involved, all of whom have learned difficult lessons through these events.”
Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed Smith and Warner have been banned from playing in this year’s Indian Premier League. They previously stepped down as the respective captains of Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Smith had already been banned by the ICC for the fourth Test against South Africa and replaced as Australia’s captain by wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine, who took over as skipper for day four of last week’s match.
Australia also called up Joe Burns, Matt Renshaw and Glenn Maxwell on Tuesday, to cover the departures of Warner, Bancroft and Smith.
The role of head coach Darren Lehmann has come under scrutiny, but he is set to continue in his position after CA’s investigation identified Smith, Warner and Bancroft as the only members of the touring party with knowledge of the ball-tampering plan.