Australian cricketers Steve Smith, David Warner banned from 2018 Indian Premier League after ball tampering incident

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Steve Smith (left) and David Warner (right) have been banned for twelve months from international cricket.
Image: NAPARAZZI.

On Wednesday, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Australian cricketers David Warner and Steve Smith were banned from this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) after the ball tampering incident in a Cape Town test match versus South Africa.

The ban imposed by the Committee of Administrators, appointed by the Indian Supreme Court, came a day after Cricket Australia (CA) announced Warner and Smith were banned from international as well as domestic cricket in Australia for a year for breaking Cricket Australia's code of conduct — violating spirit of the game — per Article 2.3.5, and Cameron Bancroft received a similar ban from CA for nine months.

In a statement, BCCI said, "The BCCI hopes that the cricketers participating in the IPL hold the highest regard for the Spirit of Cricket and Code of Conduct for Players and Match Officials." This dissolved AU$2.4 million contracts of the two. Smith and Warner had vacated their positions as Rajasthan Royals' and Sunrisers Hyderabad's captains earlier.

BCCI's President CK Khanna, IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla and BCCI Secretary Amitabh Choudhary were consulted by the Committee of Administrators for the ban.

Rajasthan Royals named Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane as the new captain, while Sunrisers Hyderabad announced New Zealand's Kane Williamson as the captain. Both the franchise are allowed to make replacements, BCCI had said in the statement. Warner was the highest run-scorer in last year's IPL and won the 2016 edition of IPL with Hyderabad. This year's IPL is to start on April 7.

Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months for actually tampering with the match ball, instructed by David Warner. Bancroft later mislead the match officials when he was caught tampering with the ball. The sanctions by CA include Warner never to be considered for Australia's captain for demonstrating and instructing a junior player how to tamper with the ball. Bancroft, and captain Steve Smith, who knew about the misconduct, but did not act to prevent it, as well as tried to cover up the matter, may be considered for the captaincy after two years.

Bancroft, who was seen rubbing the match ball with something, later identified as sandpaper, said, "I'm not proud of what's happened and I have to live with the consequences and the damage to my own reputation that comes with". Initially, when Bancroft was seen tampering with the ball, he lied to on-field match umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong that the instrument used was sticky tape, rather than sandpaper, and he was using it to apply granules to the ball.

Bancroft said, "I saw an opportunity to potentially use some tape and get some granules from the rough patches on the wicket and I guess try to change the ball condition [...] It didn't work. The umpires didn't change the ball. Once I was sighted on the screen having done that I panicked quite a lot and that obviously resulted in me shoving [the tape] down my trousers." Sandpaper is prohibited to be used with the match ball, however it is used to smooth the cricket bat.

Smith said the decision to change the ball was made during Day 3's lunch break. Eventually, South Africa went on to win the match by 322 runs as they lead the series 2–1. For altering the ball conditions, the International Cricket Council (ICC) fined Bancroft 75% of the match wage. Bancroft violated ICC's Article 2.2.9, "changing the condition of the ball".

On Thursday, Warner posted a tweet apologising the cricket fans. He said, "Mistakes have been made which damaged cricket. I apologise for my part and take responsibility of it." On social media, Steve Smith said, "I made a serious error of judgement and I now understand the consequences. It was a failure of my leadership. I will do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it has caused".

CA named Tim Paine as the captain on Tuesday. The three sanctioned were sent back to Australia on Wednesday. Glenn Maxwell, Joe Burns and Matthew Renshaw were called for the team as replacements. Bancroft, Smith and Warner can appeal the sanctions within one week. The sanctioning CA board consisted of former Australian Test players Mark Taylor and Michael Kasprowicz as well as Cricket Australia's Chairman David Peever, Earl Eddings, Dr Bob Every, John Harnden, Tony Harrison, Jacquie Hey, and Michelle Tredenick.


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