Melbourne, March 28 (Daily Mail) – Australian duo Steve Smith and David Warner have been handed 12-month bans in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked world cricket.
The former captain and vice-captain were kicked off Australia’s tour of South Africa on Wednesday for deliberately attempting to change the condition of the ball in the third Test last weekend.
Smith and Warner were stood down as captain and vice captain after they ordered Cameron Bancroft, who has been banned for nine months, to ball tamper with a piece of yellow tape during the Cape Town Test.
Smith will not be allowed to captain his country for two years after losing the captaincy to Tim Paine. He is expected to give a press-conference when he lands at Sydney airport later on Wednesday.
The punishments will see Smith and Warner return to Australian colours in time for next year’s World Cup in England and the 2019 Ashes series.
Bancroft will be available for selection again in time for the Australian summer.
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland promised ‘significant sanctions’ on Tuesday after revealing that Smith, Warner and Bancroft were the only three players involved in the plot.
Coach Darren Lehmann was spared the axe following claims he knew nothing about the plan.
Sutherland said: ‘We understand and share the anger of fans and the broader Australian community,’ he said.
‘The issue goes beyond the technical nature of the offences and 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. The sanctions that will be contemplated are significant.’
Pressed three times on whether Smith, Warner and Bancroft had cheated, he took refuge in platitudes. He did, however, say an ‘expert panel’ would conduct a review into the ‘conduct and culture of our Australian men’s teams’.
‘The clear focus will be on re-engaging with Australian fans and the public to rebuild respect and pride,’ said Sutherland.
‘Cricket Australia need to redefine what is expected of the players. Winning is important, but not at the expense of the laws or the spirit of the game.’
Asked whether the Cape Town incident was a one-off, he said that Iain Roy, the head of CA’s integrity unit, believed it was ‘an isolated incident’. He added: ‘I certainly hope it is.’
(Photo credit – AFP)