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Ball-tampering row: Steve Smith can't return as Australia captain for two years, David Warner won't be considered

In a startling revelation, David Warner was identified as the instigator of the ball tampering plan and won't ever be allowed to captain Australia.

Reported by: Subhasish Dutta, New Delhi [ Updated: March 28, 2018 16:48 IST ]
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

David Warner and Steve Smith have been penalised heavily by Cricket Australia for their role in the ball-tampering scandal in the Test series against South Africa.

Former Australia captain Steve Smith will have to wait for a minimum of two years to return to a leadership role while his former deputy and vice-captain David Warner will never be considered for team leadership positions in future, confirmed Cricket Australia on Wednesday as it announced the sanctions against the three players involved in masterminding the ball-tampering scandal in the Test series in South Africa.

Smith and Warner have been banned by Cricket Australia from playing for the country for 12 months while young batsman Cameron Bancroft received a nine-month ban for their role in a plot to cheat in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town last week. Cricket Australia has also confirmed that sandpaper was used to alter the condition of the ball and not a piece of yellow adhesive tape as earlier claimed by Bancroft.

All three players were charged with a breach of Article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct which deals with conducts "contrary to the spirit of the game" and "bringing the game of cricket into disrepute".

Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed that Warner and Smith won't play in the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League, starting April 7. Earlier, both had to relinquish their respective captaincy roles in the lucrative league. Smith has been replaced by Ajinkya Rahane as the captain of Rajasthan Royals while Sunrisers Hyderabad will announce Warner's replacement shortly.

The charges against Smith were based on him having "knowledge of a potential plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball, failure to take steps to seek to prevent the development and implementation of that plan, directing that evidence of attempted tampering be concealed on the field of play, seeking to mislead Match Officials and others regarding Bancroft's attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball, and misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent and participants of the plan."

In a startling revelation, Warner was identified as the instigator of the ball tampering plan and won't ever be allowed to captain Australia.

The charges framed against Warner are: "development of a plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball, instruction to a junior player to carry out a plan to take steps to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper, provision of advice to a junior player regarding how a ball could be artificially altered including demonstrating how it could be don, failure to take steps to seek to prevent the development and/or implementation of the plan, failure to report his knowledge of the plan at any time prior to or during the match, misleading Match Officials through the concealment of his knowledge of and involvement in the plan, and failure to voluntarily report his knowledge of the plan after the match".

Meanwhile, Bancroft was charged with "knowledge of the existence of, and being party to, the plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper, carrying out instructions to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball, seeking to conceal evidence of his attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball, seeking to mislead Match Officials and others regarding his attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball, and misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent, implementation and participants of the plan".

Cricket Australia said that all three players will be permitted to play club cricket and will be encouraged to do so to maintain links with the cricket community. In addition, all three players will be required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket. 

The cricket board also said that Smith and Bancroft "will not be considered for team leadership positions until a minimum of 12 months after the conclusion of their respective suspensions from international and domestic cricket. Any consideration of future leadership would be conditional on acceptance by fans and the public, form and authority among the playing group". 

The pugnacious 31-year-old opening batsman Warner, however, will not be considered for team leadership positions in the future.

Cricket Australia Chairman, David Peever said: "As I indicated yesterday, the CA Board understands and shares the anger of fans and the broader Australian community about these events. They go to the integrity and reputation of Australian Cricket and Australian sport and the penalties must reflect that."

James Sutherland, the CEO of Cricket Australia, said: "The sanctions we have announced are significant for the individuals involved. That is why the process has had to be thorough to ensure that all relevant issues have been examined."

The Cricket Australia punishments followed an internal investigation into the extent of the cheating plot in South Africa.

Wicketkeeper Tim Paine will take over as Australia captain for the final test in South Africa.

Smith, Warner and Bancroft are all set to face the public outrage when they get home after their actions left the reputation of Australia's favorite sports team in tatters.

After a discussion during a break in play on Saturday, Smith, Warner and Bancroft decided they would try to change the condition of the ball by using a piece of yellow adhesive tape and some dirt collected from the side of the pitch. Bancroft was tasked to do the on-field tampering - roughing up one side of the ball - but botched it when he was caught by television cameras doing the tampering and then trying to hide the tape down the front of his trousers. The evidence from the TV cameras was overwhelming and Smith and Bancroft came out after play to confess to their roles in the plot to reporters.

Warner wasn't initially named in the plot, but was officially implicated by Cricket Australia on Tuesday when chief executive announced all three would be sent home from the tour.

Australia also lost the Test in Cape Town by a crushing 322 runs.

With Smith, Warner and Bancroft on the way home, their places in the Australia squad will be taken by Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell.

Australia trail 2-1 ahead of the final test in Johannesburg. Engulfed in a crisis, Australia faces losing a series in South Africa for the first time in nearly 50 years.

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