Steve Smith and David Warner, former Australia captain and vice-captain respectively, have been banned for a 12 month period by Cricket Australia. The verdict has come after investigation into the ball-tampering controversy. Also involved in the cheating case, Cameron Bancroft has been banned for nine months. Smith and Warner have also been banned from captaining Australia for a period of two years.
Smith and Warner will be back in time for the ICC World Cup in England and then the Ashes. Bancroft, meanwhile, returns in time for summer with India to tour Australia at the time.
All players have the right to appeal their verdicts and also the duration of their penalties via a Cricket Australia code of conduct hearing with an independent commissioner, who can also choose whether to keep the hearing public or private. The players are due to depart for Australia on Wednesday with Smith to speak publicly upon his arrival in Sydney.
On Tuesday, CA chief executive James Sutherland revealed the trio of Smith, Warner and Bancroft were the only members in the Australian squad or support staff who had any knowledge of the plan to deliberately alter the condition of the ball. They were found to have breached Article 2.3.5 of the 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 players were informed of their “significant sanctions” in the team hotel in Johannesburg before leaving for Australia.
With the three players returning home, Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell have been called up as their replacements for the fourth Test starting Friday.
The incident that led to the entire controversy and the subsequent suspensions took place during South Africa’s innings on Saturday afternoon when Bancroft was captured on TV cameras holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers. The players were later questioned by the two on-field umpires, who, along with third umpire and fourth umpire, later charged Bancroft. After Saturday’s play, Smith and Bancroft admitted to tampering with the ball. The plan to alter the condition of the ball was made at Lunch break between senior players, which later emerged as Smith and Warner, without the consent of the coaching staff.