The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) says bans handed to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are disproportionate to precedents, asking Cricket Australia (CA) to reconsider its sanctions.
Smith and Warner received 12-month bans, and Bancroft nine months, over the ball-tampering incident in Cape Town.
But the ACA’s Greg Dyer said on the basis of the precedents set by other bans resulting from ball tampering, the CA rulings were unduly harsh and the players’ contrition had been “extraordinary”.
“ACA has studied a series of these events … Indeed, of the dozen, the most severe one has been a ban for two one-day internationals,” Dyer said.
“The most significant fine was that of a match fee. These proposed [CA] penalties are disproportionate relative to precedent. Secondly, those proposed [bans] were far higher than those by the ICC during the game. Third, the contrition exposed by these men has been so extraordinary.”
He also argued the players had been unfairly treated in having to front the media immediately after coming off the field.
“They [Smith and Bancroft] were rushed to a press conference minutes after leaving the field and made rushed statements and admissions right after leaving the field.
“This, I believe, was unfair to the players. It would be unfair to any person in any workplace to be rushed in this fashion.”
Dyer said the distress experienced by the players had also been plain to see and had served as a form of punishment in itself.
“Their distressed faces has sent a message across the globe as effective as any sanctions could be,” Dyer said.
I think Australia cried with Steve Smith last Thursday, I certainly did. We expect this contrition to be taken into account by ACA as any other process.
Dyer said ACA had been supporting the players as best it can since the incident during the third Test.
“The ACA and the cricketing family are doing all they can to assist these men who are doing it very, very tough. They are beginning a difficult time in their lives. Support from and that support … is helping them especially with the support from the public. That is ACA … I would say we have hundreds, hundreds of letters of support received to date from that email address, no doubt we will be receiving thousands more.”
Mr Dyer also addressed the questions around the “win-at-all-costs” culture within Australian cricket.
“Organisational culture comes from its leadership and it comes from the top. It cannot be grafted onto the bottom.”