Calls to ease ban on Smith, Warner
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.”