Sydney: Steve Smith and David Warner were slapped with a one-year international ban and ousted from this year’s IPL, while Cameron Bancroft was suspended for nine months as Cricket Australia cracked the whip on the errant trio for its role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
The lengthy bans on the trio effectively rule them out of the November-December series against India.
Virat Kohli’s men are scheduled to tour Australia to play four Tests, three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches.
In an extensive statement, Cricket Australia announced the sanctions imposed on the three players, who were ordered to leave for home yesterday midway through the ongoing Test series against South Africa.
The cricketers have seven days to appeal against the bans imposed on them.
“Steve Smith: suspension of 12 months from all international and domestic cricket. David Warner: suspension of 12 months from all international and domestic cricket. Cameron Bancroft: suspension of 9 months from all international and domestic cricket," the Cricket Australia statement read.
All three players will, however, be permitted to play club cricket “to maintain links with the cricket community".
As per the Cricket Australia code of conduct, Smith has been found guilty of 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; and directing that evidence of attempted tampering be concealed on the field of play, among other things.
Smith had also been charged for “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 addition, all three players will be required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket."
In a double blow for Smith and Warner, the two were barred from this year’s IPL. This came after the Cricket Australia sanctions and their forced stepping down as captains of Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. Bancroft does not play in the IPL.
Cricket Australia said Smith and Bancroft will not be considered for team leadership positions until one year after the end of their ban, while Warner will never be an option for captaincy role.
“Any consideration of future leadership would be conditional on acceptance by fans and the public, form and authority among the playing group. David Warner will not be considered for team leadership positions in the future."
Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said the rather stringent penalties are a reflection of Australia’s current outrage at the actions of the players. “These are significant penalties for professional players and the Board does not impose them lightly. It is hoped that following a period of suspension, the players will be able to return to playing the game they love and eventually rebuild their careers," he said.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland echoed the sentiment. “I am satisfied that the sanctions in this case properly reflect a balance between the need to protect the integrity and reputation of the game and the need to maintain the possibility of redemption for the individuals involved, all of whom have learned difficult lessons through these events," he said.
However, chief coach Darren Lehmann has been surprisingly given a clean chit after preliminary investigations yesterday. Cricket Australia maintained that the coach and the rest of the team were unaware of the conspiracy which was primarily hatched by the three players.
Tim Paine will captain Australia in the final Test match in Johannesburg with reinforcements in middle-order batsman Glenn Maxwell along with openers Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw scheduled to arrive later today.