Australia cricketers’ tears should factor in ban re-think, players’ group says

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Bans for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft over the ball-tampering incident are “disproportionate”, the organisation representing Australia’s cricketers has said.

Former captain Smith and ex-vice captain Warner were suspended for 12 months and Bancroft received a nine-month ban for their roles in using sandpaper on the ball during the third Test against South Africa.

On Tuesday, the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) called on Cricket Australia (CA) to reconsider the sanctions imposed on the players, saying they did not follow precedent for the type of offence.

ACA president Greg Dyer said: “Of the dozen or so matters of this type, the most severe suspension to date has been a ban for two one-day internationals. The most expensive fine has been 100% of a match fee. The informed conclusion is that as right as the motivation is, the proposed penalties are disproportionate relative to precedent.”

Mr Dyer said the contrition shown by the players should be taken into account and “their distressed faces has sent a message across the world as effective as any sanctions could be”.

He added: “I think Australia cried with Steve Smith last Thursday, I certainly did.

“We ask for this extraordinary contrition to be taken into account by Cricket Australia just as it would be in any fair and proper process.”

Mr Dyer said the trio were “rushed” to respond after the incident in Cape Town, saying he believed it was “unfair”, and laid out suggestions of how the players’ sanctions could be reduced.

“We ask that consideration be given to recalibrating the proposed sanctions, to consider options such as suspending or reducing part of the sanction,” he said.

“To consider, for example, allowing the players to return to domestic cricket earlier and as a part of their rehabilitation.”

David Warner File Photo
Australia’s David Warner (Jason O’Brien/PA)

“Let’s identify causes of the tipping point that occurred in Cape Town. An independent review of the culture in the game of cricket with the power to assess every contributing element and suggest the necessary changes. For change is necessary,” he added.

Mr Dyer did not reveal what the players’ next steps would be, saying any decision on appealing against the sanctions would be a personal matter for them.

“Their decisions are imminent but I’m not able to share them with you this morning.

“It is a deeply personal decision for the players. We’re supporting them through that process but ultimately that’s for the three players to decide.

“We believe the bans are disproportionate. We’ve pointed out the fact that incidents of this similar type have occurred previously, the sanctions are vastly less than what’s been suggested here.

“There’s a need to reconcile between the two, there’s a need to understand that disproportionality and to move forward.”

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