Steve Smith and David Warner have reportedly been banned for 12 months each their involvement in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
Cameron Bancroft, the third member of the trio who have been found by Cricket Australia’s internal investigation to have conspired to alter the condition of the ball at Newlands, has also been reported as being banned for nine months.
Cricket Australia is yet to confirm the sanctions off the back of the findings from the investigation into the ball-tampering incident carried out by CA Head of Integrity Iain Roy
It’s believed players will be permitted to play Premier cricket but not state or national-level cricket.
Yesterday, CA chief executive James Sutherland revealed the trio of Smith, Warner and Bancroft were the only members of Australia’s touring party – players or support staff – who had any knowledge of the plan to deliberately alter the condition of the ball.
Smith, Warner and Bancroft 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 CA Board, comprised of Chairman David Peever, Earl Eddings, Dr Bob Every, John Harnden, Tony Harrison, Jacquie Hey and Michelle Tredenick, as well as former Test players Mark Taylor and Michael Kasprowicz, convened for two-and-a-half hours on Wednesday to determine the sanctions imposed on the guilty trio.
The three sanctioned players will leave South Africa in the next 24 hours, with Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell called up as their replacements.
The incident that led to the suspensions took place during South Africa’s innings on Saturday afternoon when Bancroft was seen on television holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers.
As soon as the incident was shown on the venue’s big screen, the player was questioned in the presence of his captain by the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, who, along with third umpire Ian Gould and fourth umpire Allahudien Palekar, later charged Bancroft.
The umpires inspected the ball at that time and elected not to replace the ball and award a five-run penalty as they could not see any marks on the ball that suggested that its condition had been changed as a direct result of Bancroft’s actions. The umpires, though, agreed that Bancroft’s actions were likely to alter the condition of the ball and he was therefore charged.
The plan to alter the condition of the ball had been made at the lunch break on day three between senior players from Australia without the consent of the coaching staff, according to Smith.
Bancroft, who was in the vicinity of the senior players at lunch, was tasked to use the foreign item – a piece of yellow tape that was used to collect chunks of dislodged pitch – and was caught doing so.
Match referee Andy Pycroft said: “To carry a foreign object on to the field of play with the intention of changing the condition of the ball to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent is against not only the Laws, but the Spirit of the game as well.
“That said, I acknowledge that Cameron has accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to the charge and apologising publicly. As a young player starting out in international cricket, I hope the lessons learned from this episode will strongly influence the way he plays the game during the rest of his career.”