While acknowledging that Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft had made “serious mistakes” by ball-tampering in South Africa, the Australian Cricketers Association has questioned the process followed by Cricket Australia in arriving at the sanctions for the players, and whether the severity of the punishments was befitting of the offence.
Smith and Warner were banned from international cricket for 12 months by Cricket Australia, and Bancroft for nine. Smith and Bancroft were also banned from leadership positions in Australian cricket for a further 12 months after the end of their ban, while Warner was banned from captaincy positions for life.
The ACA said in its statement that while it was right for the players’ mistakes to be sanctioned, there were “a number of glaring and clear anomalies in the process to date which causes the ACA to query the severity and proportionality of the proposed sanctions.”
They were as follows:
The grading and sanctions proposed are considerably higher than the ICC’s grading and sanctions.
The disproportion between the proposed sanctions and those previously handed down in world cricket for ‘changing the condition of the ball’ – including by Captains of international teams applying artificial substances
The activation of CA’s Board as a deliberative body on the proposed sanctions
That public statements by CA to date have not referenced consideration of contextual factors including the environment in South Africa during the series and the impacts on individual players
The rush to place players before the world’s media last Saturday night without the benefit of considered and coherent advice
The ACA said that it would continue to provide welfare and legal support to the players.
Smith, Warner and Bancroft will have the right to challenge CA’s verdicts and also the duration of their penalties via a CA code of behaviour hearing with an independent commissioner, who can also choose whether the hearing is public or private. Players at the hearing will be permitted to call as many witnesses as they like, and also to have legal representation.