CAPE TOWN – Cricket Australia’s investigation into the ball-tampering saga – which has led to bans for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft – has found that sandpaper was indeed used to scuff up the ball in the third Test against the Proteas at Newlands, and that it was Warner who instructed Bancroft to do so.
In confirming earlier news reports that Smith and Warner (12 months) and Bancroft (nine months) have been suspended from all international and domestic cricket – including the IPL – Cricket Australia announced on Wednesday that it was Warner who approached Bancroft to tamper with the ball with sandpaper.
In a sensational list of charges, Warner was found guilty of breaching the code of conduct for the following reasons:
(a) development of a plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball;
(b) instruction to a junior player (Bancroft) to carry out a plan to take steps to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper;
(c) provision of advice to a junior player regarding how a ball could be artificially altered including demonstrating how it could be done;
(d) failure to take steps to seek to prevent the development and/or implementation of the plan;
(e) failure to report his knowledge of the plan at any time prior to or during the match;
(f) misleading Match Officials through the concealment of his knowledge of and involvement in the plan; and
(g) failure to voluntarily report his knowledge of the plan after the match.
Warner also won’t be considered for any team leadership positions in future.
Smith wasn’t spared either. CA stated that not only did the now-former captain know about the plan to alter the condition of the ball, he was responsible for “directing that evidence of attempted tampering be concealed on the field of play”, which explains Bancroft’s act of moving the sandpaper from his pocket to the front of his trousers.
In addition, Smith was found to have been “seeking to mislead match officials and others” regarding Bancroft’s ball-tampering, as well as making “misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent and participants of the plan”.
It was Bancroft, though, who said that he had used yellow tape to tamper with the ball instead of sandpaper. Cricket Australia said Bancroft was charged based on having “knowledge of and being party to the plan to alter the ball using sandpaper”, and carrying out instructions to do so.
He also concealed evidence – i.e. the sandpaper – and made misleading public comments.
“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,” CA said.
Smith and Bancroft will not be considered for leadership positions in the team at least until 12 months after their bans have ended.
Tim Paine will take over the captaincy for the final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers on Friday.
The IPL organisers have confirmed that Smith and Warner won’t be allowed to play for the Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively in this year’s competition.
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.
“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.”