The Cape Town three won’t be back to save Australian cricket – not just yet.
Cricket Australia has rejected a players’ association bid to reduce the ball-tampering bans imposed on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
The governing body has rejected an appeal lodged by the Australian Cricketers’ Association in the wake of the Longstaff review into the ball-tampering scandal and the organisational culture with CA.
CA interim chairman Earl Eddings said the decision to deny the ACA’s submission on the penalties was unanimous.
“The Cricket Australia board has carefully considered all elements of the ACA submission and has determined that it is not appropriate to make any changes to the sanctions handed down to the three players,” he said.
“The original decision of the board to sanction the players was determined after rigorous discussion and consideration.
“CA maintains that both the length and nature of the sanctions remain an appropriate response in light of the considerable impact on the reputation of Australian cricket, here and abroad.”
The three Test stars were penalised for their involvement in the sandpaper affair in Cape Town earlier this year.
Smith, the captain at the time, and Warner, who was his deputy, were banned from playing for Australia for a year. Bancroft was given a nine-month ban for using sandpaper to rough the ball illegally.
The Longstaff review didn’t exonerate the players from responsibility but did highlight a culture of “winning without counting the cost” that permeated through CA from boardroom to change room.
The ACA lodged an appeal against the continuation of the bans on the grounds that new evidence in the report about CA’s cultural issues required the governing body to share the responsibility for the Cape Town crisis and ameliorate the penalties.
Eddings said the trio were working hard to demonstrate their commitment to cricket and had Cricket Australia’s support for a smooth return.
“We believe the ongoing conversation about reducing the sanctions puts undue pressure on the three players – all of whom accepted the sanctions earlier this year – and the Australian men’s cricket team,” he said.
“As such, the Cricket Australia board doesn’t intend to consider further calls for amendments to the sanctions.
He acknowledged the players’ association was likely to be disappointed by the ruling and thanked it for the submission.
“Our commitment to continue building a strong relationship between CA and the ACA in the interests of cricket in Australia remains and we look forward to meeting with them shortly to that end,” he said.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson told The New Daily that the three players had been informed of the decision earlier and had accepted the outcome.
CA also insisted that Smith, Warner and Bancroft had never used an appeals process to try to overturn their bans and had no intention of doing so.
It also said that the players were not signatories to the ACA appeal on their behalf.
The ACA is adamant that the players had full knowledge and understanding of the decision to appeal and were kept informed throughout.
The players’ association said it disagreed with CA’s decision but accepted it, while still expressing disappointment.
It insisted that, given the sanctions were handed down, without consideration for the finding of the Longstaff review and CA’s culpability as a consequence, the penalties should have been recalibrated.
The ACA declined to comment further when contacted by The New Daily.