The BCCI’s decision to ban Steve Smith and David Warner for the IPL 2018 has been taken in consultation with the Cricket Australia (CA), the Committee of Administrators (CoA) head Vinod Rai confirmed. As per the Indian cricket board release, the CoA “took cognizance of the developments in the ball tampering incident” involving Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft, and in consultation with the BCCI acting president CK Khanna, acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla meted out the ban to Smith and Warner “with immediate effect”.
Rai, however, informed that the CA, too, was part of the discussion. “We have consulted Cricket Australia, yes of course,” he told The Indian Express.
Although the CA doesn’t have “any clear authority” with regard to the NoCs for their players for domestic competitions overseas, the BCCI preferred to stay away from the technical nitty-gritties in relation to the two Australian players’ participation in this year’s IPL.
The cordial relationship between the two boards was a factor and more importantly, adherence to the spirit of cricket. CA chief executive James Sutherland spoke about the NoC issue, but we would come to that later. It is learnt that two days ago a top BCCI official got in touch with Sutherland to know by when the Australian cricket authority would be taking a decision on the players following their inquiry process. According to a cricket board insider, Smith and Warner’s IPL 2018 position became untenable once Sutherland said Smith and Warner, along with Bancroft, would face “significant sanctions” over the ball-tampering scandal. “There was every chance that the CA wouldn’t have given them the NoCs for this year’s IPL. The BCCI and the CA share a cordial relationship. The CA has always made their players available for the IPL. Those factors were important,” said the Indian board source.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Sutherland, however, said: “Under the code, we didn’t have any clear authority over domestic matches played overseas. It was talked about but we ascertained based on the legal advice that we didn’t have that clear authority. I understood the IPL has made a call recently, someone told me about that.”
The BCCI also faced no resistance from Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in this regard despite the fact that Smith and Warner were the captains of the respective franchises and also their X-factors. Returning to the fold after a two-year suspension, Royals had retained Smith for Rs 12.5 crore, while Sunrisers retained Warner for Rs 12 crore. Smith had already stepped down as Royals captain in the wake of the Newlands sandpaper-gate. Today Warner followed suit a few hours before the CA sanctions and the subsequent BCCI ban had been announced.
As for Bancroft, he doesn’t have an IPL contract, but the young opener is scheduled to play for the English county, Somerset, this term. Sutherland, meanwhile, has put the onus on the ECB and Somerset, saying: “that is up to them”.