Melbourne/Johannesburg/New Delhi, March 28 : Four days after they were exposed, Cricket Australia (CA) on Wednesday suspended disgraced captain Steve Smith and vice captain David Warner for 12 months each and opener Cameron Bancroft for nine months over a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. Subsequently, Warner and Smith were also banned by the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the upcoming edition of the Twenty20 cash-rich franchise-based meet.
According to a CA statement, Smith and Bancroft were also banned from leadership positions for 12 months after completing their one-year ban from international and domestic cricket.
Warner has, however, been banned from all leadership positions in Australian cricket for life.
The players were found to have breached article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct, which relates to conduct at any time that is contrary to the spirit of the game, unbecoming of a representative, harmful to the interests of the game or bringing the game into disrepute.
The three will be allowed to play club cricket and were encouraged by the CA to do so “to maintain links with the cricket community”.
The IPL governing council in New Delhi has also decided to bar Smith and Warner from this edition. Both Smith and Warner had stepped down from their captaincy of Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. They were retained for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore each.
CA said that the two players were “required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket”.
“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,” CA Chairman David Peever said in a statement.
CA’s investigation found Warner responsible for “development of a plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball” and “instruction to a junior player to carry out a plan”.
The southpaw was also charged with providing advice to a junior player on how to tamper with the ball “including demonstrating how it could be done”.
Warner also misled the Newlands match officials by concealing his knowledge of and involvement in the plan and did not voluntarily report his involvement.
Meanwhile, Smith’s ban was based on his knowing of the plan but failing to take steps to stop it. Further, the probe found that it was Smith who directed “that evidence of attempted tampering be concealed on the field of play” — in other words, Smith told Bancroft to hide the yellow object now known to be sandpaper in his trousers.
Smith was also found to have “misled 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”.
The incident took place on the third day of the third Test on March 24 in Cape Town.
Bancroft was caught on camera using what was believed to be a tape before attempting to hide the object down the front of his pants moments before the umpires seemingly inquired about the contents of his pockets.
Television footage later showed Bancroft rubbing the ball and then seemingly putting an object back into his pocket.
As soon as the incident was shown on the giant screen, the player was questioned in the presence of Smith by the on-field umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong.
The CA Board, comprising Chairman David Peever, Earl Eddings, Bob Every, John Harnden, Tony Harrison, Jacquie Hey and Michelle Tredenick, as well as former Test players Mark Taylor and Michael Kasporwicz, convened on Wednesday to determine the sanctions imposed on the guilty trio.
Following the announcement, CA has appointed wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine as the Test captain on a full-time basis.
“CA will provide more details of an independent review into the conduct and culture of our Australian men’s team in due course,” CEO James Sutherland said.