Cheat­ing trio hit with big bans

The New Age (Northern Cape) - - SPORT -

DIS­GRACED Aus­tralia skip­per Steve Smith and se­nior bats­man David Warner were banned from cricket for 12 months yes­ter­day over a cheat­ing scan­dal that has rocked the sport and dragged their side’s rep­u­ta­tion through the mud.

Both play­ers have also been ejected from this year’s In­dian Premier League, (IPL) los­ing con­tracts worth up to AUD 2m (R18m) each.

A state­ment from Cricket Aus­tralia (CA) said Smith and Warner had been sus­pended from “all in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic cricket” while open­ing bats­man Cameron Ban­croft has been banned for nine months.

How­ever, the state­ment said all three play­ers in­volved in the ball-tam­per­ing in­ci­dent dur­ing the third Test in South Africa will be “per­mit­ted” and “en­cour­aged” to play club cricket.

It was not clear whether that means they would be avail­able to play club cricket in Eng­land, for ex­am­ple.

Smith was charged with knowl­edge of a po­ten­tial plan “to at­tempt to ar­ti­fi­cially al­ter the con­di­tion of the ball” but Warner was charged with de­vel­op­ing the plan.

The CA state­ment said Smith and Ban­croft would not be con­sid­ered for team lead­er­ship po­si­tions un­til a min­i­mum of 12 months af­ter the end of their sus­pen­sions but Warner will be barred from all such po­si­tions in the fu­ture.

All three play­ers will also be re­quired to un­der­take 100 hours of vol­un­tary ser­vice in com­mu­nity cricket.

CA chief James Suther­land said the board had im­posed “sig­nif­i­cant” sanc­tions over the in­ci­dent, in which Ban­croft used a strip of yel­low sticky tape to pick up dirt and il­le­gally roughen one side of the ball to gen­er­ate more swing for Aus­tralia’s bowlers.

“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,” Suther­land said.

“As in­di­cated, CA will pro­vide more de­tails of an in­de­pen­dent re­view into the con­duct and cul­ture of our Aus­tralian men’s team in due course.”

Smith, Warner and Ban­croft have been sent home from South Africa but coach Dar­ren Lehmann re­mains in charge be­cause CA says he was un­aware of the plot to al­ter the ball’s con­di­tion.

The scan­dal will also hit the play­ers hard in the pocket, with Smith and Warner los­ing their con­tracts in the IPL, Smith with the Ra­jasthan Roy­als and Warner for Sun­ris­ers Hy­der­abad.

The Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia (BCCI) said its top of­fi­cers had de­cided “to ban Smith and Warner with im­me­di­ate ef­fect from par­tic­i­pa­tion in IPL 2018.

“The BCCI hopes that the crick­eters par­tic­i­pat­ing in the IPL hold the high­est re­gard for the spirit of cricket and code of con­duct for play­ers and match of­fi­cials,” In­dia’s gov­ern­ing body said. Wicket keeper Tim Paine will take over the Aus­tralia cap­taincy for the fourth and fi­nal Test start­ing in Jo­han­nes­burg to­mor­row, with hosts South Africa lead­ing a bad-tem­pered se­ries 2-1 as Matt Ren­shaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns fly to South Africa to re­place the ex­iled trio.

Smith had al­ready been sus­pended for one Test and docked his en­tire match fee by the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil.

Smith said af­ter the Test that the Aus­tralia team’s “lead­er­ship group” had been aware of the plan.

How­ever, Suther­land has in­sisted Lehmann was not in­volved. Warner, a di­vi­sive fig­ure in the world game, has be­come the fo­cus of Aus­tralian me­dia, who blame him for the scan­dal.

PIC­TURE: NURPHOTO

DIS­GRACED: For­mer Aus­tralian skip­per Steve Smith has been banned from do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional cricket for 12 months.

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