The latest Australian ball-tampering scandal has incited heavy punishment with Cricket Australia slapping a one-year international ban on Australian skipper Steve Smith and Vice-captain David Warner on March 28, 2018.
The official statement from Cricket Australia read that Smith and Warner have been suspended from all international and domestic cricket, while opening batsman Cameron Bancroft has been banned for a duration of nine months.
All three players will, however, be permitted to play club cricket to maintain links with the cricket community.
Steve Smith: He was charged with ‘the knowledge of a potential plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball’ and failure to take steps to seek to prevent the development and implementation of the plan.
He has also been charged for ‘seeking to mislead Match Officials and others regarding Bancroft’s attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball; and misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent and participants of the plan.’
He would now have to wait for a minimum of two years before being considered for a leadership role.
Cameron Bancroft: He was charged with ‘knowledge of the existence of, and being party to, the plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper, carrying out instructions to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball and seeking to conceal evidence of his attempts’.
He was also charged for ‘seeking to mislead Match Officials and others regarding his attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball and misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent, implementation and participants of the plan’.
He would not be considered for leadership positions until a minimum of 12 months after the end of his suspension.
David Warner: He was charged with, ‘development of a plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball, instruction to a junior player to carry out the plan using sandpaper, provision of advice to a junior player regarding how a ball could be artificially altered including demonstrating how it could be done and failure to take steps to seek to prevent the development or implementation of the plan’.
He was also charged with ‘failure to report his knowledge of the plan at any time prior to or during the match, misleading Match Officials through the concealment of his knowledge of and involvement in the plan, and failure to voluntarily report his knowledge of the plan after the match’.
He has also been barred from holding any team leadership position in the future.
Besides this, all three players will be required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket.
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The Ball tampering row: Background
• The three players – Australian Captain Steve Smith, Vice-Captain David Warner and Opening Batsman Cameron Bancroft were allegedly involved in masterminding the ball-tampering scandal that erupted during the third day's play against South Africa in the Cape Town Test on March 24, 2018.
• Australia’s opening batsman Bancroft was caught on camera using sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball.
• As soon as the incident was shown on the giant screen, the player was questioned in the presence of his captain Smith by the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong.
• Following this, all three players were charged with a breach of Article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct which deals with conducts "contrary to the spirit of the game" and "bringing the game of cricket into disrepute".
• Cricket Australia ordered the three players to return home on March 27, midway through the ongoing Test series against South Africa.
• The cricketers now have seven days to appeal against the bans imposed on them.
Statement from Cricket Australia
• Speaking on the harsh penalties, the CA Chairman David Peever said that they are a reflection of Australia’s current outrage at the actions of the players.
• Peever further stated that these are significant penalties for professional players and the Board does not impose them lightly.
• “It is hoped that following a period of suspension, the players will be able to return to playing the game they love and eventually rebuild their careers,” he added.
How the sanctions affect India?
• Both Steve Smith and David Warner were captains of IPL franchises Rajasthan Royals and SunRisers Hyderabad respectively. Following the row, both decided to step down from their positions.
• In fact, following Cricket Australia’s sanctions, the BCCI decided to bar both the players from taking part in this year’s IPL season.
• The lengthy ban on the trio will also effectively rule them out from the November-December series against India.
• The Indian cricket team led by Virat Kohli is scheduled to tour Australia to play four Tests, three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches during the time.
While, the action by all three players definitely calls for stringent punishment in order to deter such acts in the future, with the one year ban, Cricket Australia seems to have gone overboard with their anger.
In the past too, several players have been accused of ball tampering and the maximum punishment given out at the time included one-game suspension and cutting off a certain percentage of match fee.
Most recently in 2016, South African skipper Faf du Plessis was charged with ball tampering during the second test against Australia at Hobart after he applied saliva from a mint or lollipop onto the ball to make it shine. Du Plessis was found guilty by the ICC and fined his entire match fee.
Faf du Plessis was charged previously in 2013 as well for rubbing the ball on the zipper of his trousers while fielding during a test against Pakistan in 2013. On-field umpires awarded Pakistan five runs and changed the ball. Du Plessis pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined 50 percent of his match fees.
In 2014, South Africa's Vernon Philander was charged with scratching the ball with his finger and thumbs during a test against Sri Lanka at Galle. Philander was found guilty and fined 75 percent of his match fees.
Who: Cricket Australia
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