Cricket Australia (CA) has unanimously rejected the submission made by Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) which called for the bans imposed on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft to be reduced. The trio were charged for ball tampering at Newlands on the tour of South Africa earlier in the year.
The cultural review into Australian cricket threw in some damning findings which highlighted the win-at-all-costs methods ideology. However, it also pointed out that the players were not solely responsible for the events that led up to Cape Town.
“It would’ve been great to see the guys play some domestic cricket in the back half of the season but we’ve got to respect CA’s decision on that and for the original ban to stand,” said Australia’s captain in short format Aaron Finch. “It would’ve been great for Steve and Davey also, with Cam coming back shortly, but respect the decision and just got to move on now.”
CA interim chairman Earl Eddings said the submission made by ACA put extra scrutiny on the banned trio and going forward, the board won’t be considering calls for penalties to be altered.
“The Cricket Australia Board has carefully considered all elements of the ACA submission and has determined that it is not appropriate to make any changes to the sanctions handed down to the three players,” Eddings said.
“The original decision of the Board to sanction the players was determined after rigorous discussion and consideration. CA maintains that both the length and nature of the sanctions remain an appropriate response in light of the considerable impact on the reputation of Australian cricket, here and abroad.
“Steve, David and Cameron are working hard to demonstrate their commitment to cricket and have our continued support to ensure their pathway to return is as smooth as possible.
“We believe the ongoing conversation about reducing the sanctions puts undue pressure on the three players – all of whom accepted the sanctions earlier this year – and the Australian men’s cricket team. As such, the Cricket Australia Board doesn’t intend to consider further calls for amendments to the sanctions.
“Though we recognise that this decision will be disappointing for the ACA, we thank them for their submission. Our commitment to continue building a strong relationship between CA and the ACA in the interests of cricket in Australia remains and we look forward to meeting with them shortly to that end.”
Bancroft’s nine-month suspension will end in December, meaning he could play in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Perth Scorchers against the Hobart Hurricanes on December 30.
Smith and Warner’s bans were for 12 months, which means they will not be available for selection for Australia, New South Wales or their BBL franchises until March 30. That is also two days after the domestic Sheffield Shield Final – this Australian summer’s final scheduled match.
Internationally, Bancroft’s likely first opportunity to play for Australia will be in the Test series against Sri Lanka at the end of January, while Smith and Warner would have to wait until April, ahead of the World Cup and Ashes in England later next year. It was reported that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) would be happy to move a schedule March ODI series into April which would allow the former captain and vice-captain to be eligible.
The three players were charged, and found to be in breach of Article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct for their conduct during the third Test against South Africa in March, when sandpaper was brought on to the field with the intent of altering condition of the ball.
ACA had initially said the union would be “relentless” in getting the bans reduced or lifted and did not rule out legal action. But following the ruling by CA, they accepted the decision. “While the ACA respectfully disagrees with CA’s decision, it is accepted,” the ACA said in a statement. “The ACA regards CA’s decision as disappointing. It remains the ACA’s view that a recalibration of these sanctions would have been a just outcome. The ACA has done all it could in support of our submission, and now considers the matter closed.
“The ACA’s submission was made because: CA’s sanctions were issued without consideration of the findings of the Longstaff review; CA said that it accepted Dr Longstaff’s findings that concluded CA needed to take responsibility for its ‘winning without counting the costs’ culture that contributed to the events in Cape Town; CA’s sanctions on the players were excessive.
“The ACA’s submission provided an opportunity for CA to recalibrate its player sanctions by permitting a return via domestic and/or international cricket.”