On this day in 2018: Australian trio banned after ball-tampering saga

By Sports Desk March 28, 2024

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were all given lengthy bans for their part in Australia’s ball-tampering scandal six years ago.

Captain Smith and vice-captain Warner were both handed 12-month suspensions while Bancroft, the batsman who was caught on camera attempting to change the condition of the ball using sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa, was banned for nine months.

Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said: “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.”

Smith and Bancroft gave a press conference after the third day’s play where they admitted a premeditated attempt to tamper with the ball.

Smith spoke of a “leadership group” making the decision to tamper with the ball and, in announcing the severe punishments, CA revealed Warner, 31, was charged with devising the plan, instructing a junior player – Bancroft – to carry it out and demonstrating how to do it.

Smith gave a tearful press conference on his return to Australia, saying: “I know I’ll regret this for the rest of my life, I’m absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness.

“I’ve been so privileged and honoured to represent my country and captain Australia. Cricket is the greatest game in the world and it’s been my life – I hope it can be again. I’m absolutely devastated.”

Smith and Warner both returned to the Australia side at the Cricket World Cup in 2019, with the former made vice-captain of the Test side in 2021, while Bancroft played for his country again in the Ashes series the same summer.

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