Calls to ease ban on Smith, Warner

NT News - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

PUB­LICLY Cricket Aus­tralia says there is no way it will soften the 12-month bans handed down to Steve Smith and David Warner.

Be­hind closed doors how­ever, it’s been a dif­fer­ent story, with sev­eral key power­bro­kers se­cretly dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of drop­ping a bomb­shell and al­low­ing Aus­tralia’s shamed stars to play Sh­effield Shield or Big Bash League cricket.

High pro­file stars like Shane Wat­son have come out and ques­tioned why CA would sign off on the pair play­ing Twenty20 cricket in out­posts like Canada, but not al­low them to par­tic­i­pate in their own com­pe­ti­tions?

Some feel a year out of in­ter­na­tional cricket and a $5 million hit to the back pocket has been pun­ish­ment enough.

On the other side of the coin, many be­lieve Cricket Aus­tralia can­not pos­si­bly go back on what’s done, adamant the heavy sanc­tions are in place for a rea­son.

In a wide-rang­ing poll with ex-play­ers, the con­sen­sus is in favour of a CA back­flip. How­ever, the opin­ions are mixed and var­ied.

“They’re play­ing in Canada in front of crowds over there, it’d be great to see them back here en­ter­tain­ing the crowds in the BBL. I think they’ve paid their price,” fast bowl­ing leg­end Glenn McGrath said.

“Per­son­ally I would love to see them back play­ing cricket sooner rather than later. Not ev­ery­one will agree but if you ask 100 peo­ple walk­ing down the street I reckon a lot of them will say they’ve been dealt with,” said fel­low pace­man Brett Lee.

How­ever, not ev­ery­one is in favour of a quick re­turn.

“I like the idea of them be­ing able to play club cricket,” said for­mer open­ing bats­man Simon Katich. “I think the ban is there for a rea­son and I think if they don’t get banned and they’re able to play through­out the whole 12 months, peo­ple will think, ‘well what was it all for?’ I think by them be­ing able to play club cricket it sends a re­ally good mes­sage that they give back to grass­roots cricket. Get back to the game where they all started from.”

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