Steve Smith, David Warner Could Be Banned For Life After Ball-Tampering Scandal

Steve Smith escaped with just a one-match suspension and a 100 percent fine on his match fee even after admitting to hatching a plan along with a few other “senior players” to alter the condition of the ball to gain an unfair advantage during the third Test against South Africa in Newlands, Cape Town. However, if reports are to be believed this might just be the start of sanctions for the under-fire Australian cricketer. Captain Smith and his deputy David Warner are both facing life bans if the maximum penalty is applied under Cricket Australia’s code of behaviour.

Australian cricket board’s Head of Integrity Iain Roy and team performance manager Pat Howard travelled to South Africa to begin interviews with Smith, Warner, Cameron Bancroft and coach Darren Lehmann as part of an investigation into the cheating scandal.

According to a ESPNCricinfo report, after his investigation, Roy will then recommend the charges following which an independent commissioner will hold a hearing and decide the severity of the penalty.

The maximum penalty available to the code of conduct commissioner is a life ban from the sport, added the report.

Meanwhile, while Smith was banned for a match, opener Bancroft was fined 75 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct.

Bancroft admitted that he breached Article 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “changing the condition of the ball in breach of clause 41.3.” and accepted the sanction proposed by Andy Pycroft of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees, and as such there was no need for a formal hearing.

The incident that led to the charges being laid took place during South Africa’s innings on Saturday afternoon when Bancroft was seen on television holding a yellow object while rubbing the ball, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers.

As soon as the incident was shown on the giant screen, the player was questioned in the presence of his Smith by the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, who, along with third umpire Ian Gould and fourth umpire Allahudien Palekar, later charged Bancroft.

The umpires inspected the ball at that time and elected not to replace the ball and award a 5-run penalty as they could not see any marks on the ball that suggested that its condition had been changed as a direct result of Bancroft’s actions. The umpires though agreed that Bancroft’s actions were likely to alter the condition of the ball and he was therefore charged under Article 2.2.9.


Ball tampering: Why did ICC Chief Executive David Richardson lay charges instead of match officials?

MUMBAI: In an official statement sent by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the ball-tampering episode at Newlands, Cape Town, the game’s governing body has mentioned that its chief executive David Richardson laid the charge against Australia captain Steve Smith that eventually led to the latter being handed a one-match ban and 100% fine of the match fee.
ALSO READ: Life ban for Smith, Warner? CA may announce exemplary punishment
While the ban and the fine will be questioned in days to come, given the seriousness of the offence, what comes across as more surprising is Richardson laying the charge against Smith and not match-referee Andy Pycroft or field-umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth.
When asked categorically for reasons behind such a move, ICC’s communications head wrote back saying: “David laid the charge because of the serious nature of it and he wanted to show how seriously the ICC takes this behaviour. The match officials were very supportive of this”.
ALSO READ: ‘Brain fade’ Steve Smith: Prolific but flawed Aussie captain
However, there was no reply to a specific question from TOI that read: Did the on-field umpires / match referee / either or both the cricket boards lay a charge of ball tampering? ICC’s own regulations underline that any of these individuals or organisations can lay the charge.
In March 2017, when Australia and particularly Steven Smith suffered the ‘brain freeze’ moment in Bengaluru, Nigel Llong – the same umpire back then – had not submitted any report after the Test match, despite Australia’s own admission in the DRS controversy. Peter Handscomb, Smith’s batting partner, had taken the blame on himself and said he suggested to Smith about the help from the dressing room.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here