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Sandpapergate: CA bans Steve Smith, David Warner from cricket for 12 months
Melbourne, Mar 28 (IBNS): In the wake of the ball tampering accusations levelled against former Australian cricket captain Steven Smith, his deputy David Warner and team member Cameron Bancroft, Cricket Australia, the sport's highest governing body in the nation, has decided to impose a ban of twelve months on the senior leaders, while slamming a nine-month embargo on cricket on the latter, reports said on Wednesday.
With Smith and Warner set for a 12-month hiatus, it is unlikely that the pair will make the Australian 2019 Cricket World Cup squad.
The ICC mega event, which is scheduled to take place in the UK, will start from May 30 next year.
According to a report by the Cricket Australia website, CA chief executive James Sutherland said that the trio were the only people in the touring group, players and supporting staffs included, who had knowledge about the tampering incident.
Bancroft, who carried out the dirty work, faces a 9-month ban.
Last week, following investigation, the ICC imposed a monetary fine of Bancroft, while Smith was fined 100 percent of his match fee along with a one Test match ban.
Reacting angrily, several former cricketers and faithfuls had stated that the punishment was not just and a few of them alluded to the fact that had it been a player from a non-white nation, the quantum of the punishment would have certainly been severe.
However, in reality, the ICC levied the maximum punishment for the kind of offence which took place and it was up to the CA to decide what was best for Australia.
"The CA Board, comprised of Chairman David Peever, Earl Eddings, Dr Bob Every, John Harnden, Tony Harrison, Jacquie Hey and Michelle Tredenick, as well as former Test players Mark Taylor and Michael Kasprowicz, convened for two-and-a-half hours on Wednesday to determine the sanctions imposed on the guilty trio," a piece on the Cricket Australia website read.
"The three sanctioned players will leave South Africa in the next 24 hours, with Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell called up as their replacements.
"The incident that led to the suspensions took place during South Africa's innings on Saturday afternoon when Bancroft was seen on television holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers," it said.
Smith, who has since faced the media and acknowledge playing a part in the now-infamous Sandpapergate, regretted conspiring to tamper with the ball.
"Obviously, today was a big mistake on my behalf and on the leadership group's behalf as well," he said.
"But I take responsibility as the captain, I need to take control of the ship, but this is certainly something I'm not proud of and something that I hope I can learn from and come back strong from.
"I am embarrassed to be sitting here talking about this," he said.
In the aftermath of the event, Smith has not only lost his national leadership duty, but has also been stripped off captaincy for the Indian Premier League-based team, Rajasthan Royals.
Warner too has followed suit. The so called 'agent provocateur' of the Australian team won the IPL trophy with the Sunrisers Hyderabad a couple of season ago, beating the Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by Virat Kohli.
Even though the infamous trio have been shown the door by the CA, it has not impeached head coach Darren Lehmann.
Earlier this week, UK-based The Telegraph reported that Lehmann is ready to resign.
"Lehmann has been cleared of any prior knowledge of the plan hatched by Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft to deliberately alter the condition of the ball in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town," read another report published on the CA website.
However, Lehmann's lack of knowledge about the saga has been questioned by former Australian and English players, who said that the dressing room in Cape Town, where the incident took place, is too small for the entire team to not know what was going on.
"To many reputations on the line for the full story not to come out. Cape Town change room is a very small place!" former Australian captain Michael Clarke wrote on Twitter.
"The truth, The full story, Accountability and Leadership- until the public get this Australian cricket is in deep shit!" he said in a follow-up tweet.
Former English batsman Kevin Pietersen said, "I’ve woken up this morning actually gutted for Smith, Warner & Bancroft. Yes they were involved and will be sanctioned but I’m afraid they weren’t the only ones(& I don’t think anyone else believes they were)... I hope they get a fair trial."
Michael Vaughan, former England cricket captain, said, "Only 3 people knew ........ #MyArse."
Vaughan, who had also gotten in an altercation with David Warner's wife Candice on Twitter over sledging on the cricket field, posted a series of tweets asking why the CA would not use the word cheat even after the Australians admitted to it.