Report prompts Cape Town trio ban debate
Debate about Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft’s suspensions has been reignited by Monday’s review but Cricket Australia (CA) insist there will be no change.
From the moment Smith and Warner were banned for a year, and Bancroft for nine months, there has been widespread discontent within cricketing circles about the terms and length of those punishments.
Those rumblings will grow louder after The Ethics Centre painted a sorry picture of CA’s “arrogant” culture, suggesting the governing body was guilty of bullying while also allowing behaviour by players and coaches to diverge from community standards.
“Responsibility for that larger picture lies with CA and not just the players held directly responsible for the appalling incident at Newlands,” the report says.
Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) president Greg Dyer, perhaps the most vocal and consistent critic of the bans, declared the scathing report must prompt a rethink.
“There must be a reconsideration of the harshness of the penalties,” Dyer said in a statement.
“Basic fairness demands these independently verified contributing factors must now be taken into consideration and the penalties reduced.”
CA’s code of conduct details that once a penalty is accepted, there’s no scope for it to be altered.
CA chairman David Peever insists there is nothing that will alter his board’s hardline stance on Smith, Warner and Bancroft.
“There was a full investigation and that was the outcome of the investigation,” Peever said.
“The sanctions were imposed by the board after a very full and thoughtful process and so the sanctions stand, as I said several weeks ago.”
Dyer remarked earlier this year that “justice which is rushed can sometimes be flawed”.
The justice meted out to the disgraced trio is hardly mentioned by The Ethics Centre in its 145-page summary of the sorry state of Australian cricket.
“People report a high level of satisfaction with regard to the manner and speed in which CA responded to events in Cape Town,” the review says.
CA’s Pat Howard and Ian Roy completed a formal investigation into the sandpaper saga in two days.
Peever’s board settled on the punishments soon after while the three players, mentally fried and reeling from a public backlash that was led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s “shock and disappointment”, quickly accepted.
Icon Shane Warne was quick to register his disappointment, accusing CA of caving to public hysteria and highlighting how other international players walked away with a fine for tampering.
Former national coach Darren Lehmann is among many key figures to declare Smith, Warner and Bancroft should be allowed to play Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League.
Several Test players are privately peeved their banned teammates won’t be lining up against India this summer.
Smith and Warner, who boast a combined 138 Tests of experience, are yet to speak publicly since returning home from the Caribbean Premier League more than a month ago.
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