Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned from playing for Australia for 12 months and Cameron Bancroft for nine months, Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed.
- David Warner will not be considered for team leadership positions in the future
- All three players will be suspended from all international and and domestic cricket
- James Sutherland said sandpaper was used to alter the condition of the ball
Warner will not be considered for team leadership positions in the future, CA said in a statement, while Smith and Bancroft will not be considered for leadership positions for a minimum of 12 months after their suspensions.
All three players will be suspended from all international and domestic cricket, and have to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket.
They will be permitted to play club cricket and will be encouraged to do so to maintain links with the cricket community, the statement said.
CA’s statement said Warner instructed Bancroft “to carry out a plan to take steps to attempt to alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper”.
CA boss James Sutherland said he understood sandpaper was often in the dressing room or in the players’ kit bags to look after their cricket bats.
He said coach Darren Lehmann “was not in any way involved in the incident”, and Ian Wright, who conducted the investigation, was satisfied with him continuing as coach.
“I want to say that he [Lehmann] sent a message to say, ‘what in the hell is going on’. He didn’t say that, [he] used another word.
“But that was found to be, through Ian’s investigation — that Darren made those comments — and Ian was certainly satisfied that Darren was not involved and didn’t know anything.”
Sutherland said he had not considered resigning.
ABC’s Jim Maxwell said Smith would be leaving South Africa later today.
“He’s been told he must front a media conference in Sydney. They have got a place organised for him,” he said.
“So it’s going to be a bit of a public execution that one. I don’t know if Warner will be appearing somewhere, but the captain bears the responsibility.”
Smith and Warner have both also been ditched from the Indian Premier League (IPL) for 2018.
IPL commissioner Rajiv Shukla said the pair would not be allowed to play in the wake of Cricket Australia’s ban.
Warner and Smith were each on a $2.5 million-dollar contract to play in the competition, which begins next month.
Warner was captain of the Hyderabad Sunrisers while Smith was meant to skipper the Rajasthan Royals side.
It is the latest blow to their commercial interests in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal.
Former Test player Ed Cowan questions team culture
Ed Cowan, who played 18 tests for Australia, said if CA was serious about conducting a culture and behaviour review it needed to look at the team’s coach and high performance manager.
“For the last couple of days, I think, this rests on them as much as it does the players,” he said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing the behaviour of the players, but I think there’s more to come out in terms of the actual facts and we’ll get that. But if you’re looking at the culture of the team, you need to be looking at the head.
“The team’s culture is not one befitting of the Australian cricket team.
“We’ve seen people get in scraps off the field. We’ve seen guys give send-offs, we’ve seen sledging.
“This aggressive nature of the team says so much about them and it is almost the straw that has broken the camel’s back.
“To win back the public, to have a team that we love, we can’t just suspend three players. It needs to be a complete overhaul so the public can then reinstate their faith in this cricket team they love — and they want to.”
He said the human cost would be huge.
“Make no mistake, what particularly Steve Smith is about to walk back into in Australia, in a sense I feel sorry for them,” he said.
“And then [there will be] huge flow-on effects and the public trust, and that’s why the culture of the team has to change. This is the moment.”
CA chief Sutherland apologises to Australian public
Mr Sutherland announced this morning that Warner, Smith and Bancroft would be sent home over their roles in the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked Australian cricket.
The scandal broke after Bancroft was caught on camera using sandpaper to rough up the ball in the third Test in Cape Town.
Wicket-keeper Tim Paine is taking over as captain.
Matthew Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns have been named as replacements for Smith, Warner and Bancroft.
Sutherland said the saga was extraordinarily bad for cricket, but repeatedly refused to say whether the attempts to alter the match ball constituted cheating.
He apologised to the Australian public and said he shared the anger and disappointment of cricket supporters, especially children who idolise the players.
And he said the pressure had taken a heavy toll on Smith.
“He is destroyed, very upset,” Sutherland said.
Earlier this week, the International Cricket Council announced it would ban Smith for one match and fine him all of his match fee.
Bancroft was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and received three demerit points. But, it was not enough to satisfy critics of the team.
The ball-tampering scandal saw Bancroft attempt to hide sandpaper from umpires after appearing to run it over the ball.
The incident proved to be a crippling distraction for the team as they lost by a mammoth 322 runs at Newlands.
As vice-captain, Warner was a key cog in that leadership group. During his post-play press conference, Smith refused to “name names” when queried who in the leadership group discussed tampering with the ball.
But given the three players sent home, it would appear Smith’s phrasing referred to just himself and Warner.
The incident has also shaken the public’s trust in the team, for so long held up on a pedestal for its supposed hard-but-fair approach to the game.