Ball-tampering row: Steve Smith, David Warner could face life bans by Cricket Australia - report | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Ball-tampering row: Steve Smith, David Warner could face life bans by Cricket Australia - report

Australia is aghast at skipper Steve Smith saying the cricket team’s ‘leadership group’ was involved in Cameron Bancroft’s ball-tampering bid in the Cape Town Test against South Africa on Saturday.

cricket Updated: Mar 25, 2018 22:48 IST
HT Correspondent/Agencies
HT Correspondent/Agencies
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Steve Smith and David Warner could reportedly face life bans after Cricket Australia were asked by the Australian Sports Commission to strip Smith and Warner of captaincy and vice-captaincy for the remainder of the third Test
Steve Smith and David Warner could reportedly face life bans after Cricket Australia were asked by the Australian Sports Commission to strip Smith and Warner of captaincy and vice-captaincy for the remainder of the third Test (REUTERS)

The International Cricket Council may have suspended Australia skipper Steve Smith for just one Test over the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test, it appears Cricket Australia (CA) may take a much stronger view of it.

According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, the Australian board could even ban Smith and vice-captain David Warner for life for cheating under the Board’s code of behaviour.

The report said CA’s head of integrity unit, Iain Roy, and team performance manager Pat Howard have travelled to Cape Town to begin an investigation after CA Board were asked by the Australian Sports Commission to strip Smith and Warner of captaincy and vice-captaincy for the remainder of the third Test that ended in Australia’s 322-run defeat on Sunday evening.

NOT ALL INVOLVED?

While Smith admitted on Saturday that the team’s ‘leadership group’ was behind the decision to indulge in ball-tampering, it was later learnt the entire leadership, which also included Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, was not involved. This has put the focus purely on Smith and Warner.

The ICC suspended Smith for one Test and fined him his entire match fees. It fined Cameron Bancroft – the player caught trying to tamper with the ball during Saturday’s play -- 75% of his match fees while letting off Warner.

Earlier, CA chief executive James Sutherland had issued a public apology, saying “To our Australian cricket fans, we are sorry. We are sorry that you had to wake up this morning to news from South Africa that our Australian men’s cricket team and our captain admitted to conduct that is outside both the laws of our game and the Spirit of Cricket. This behaviour calls into question the integrity of the team and Cricket Australia.”

PRESSURE ON CRICKET AUSTRALIA

The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had lashed out at the team saying, “How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief. Our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play.”

The Australian prime minister said he expected the cricket bosses to take “decisive action soon”.

The Australian Sports Commission, a government statutory agency for overseeing sports, has taken a strong view of the scandal and has pushed CA to suspend players. It issued a statement on Sunday, saying “The ASC condemns cheating of any form in sport. The ASC expects and requires that Australian teams and athletes demonstrate unimpeachable integrity in representing our country.

“The Australian cricket team are iconic representatives of our country. The example they set matters a great deal to Australia and to the thousands of young Australians playing or enjoying the sport of cricket and who look up to the national team as role models.”