Cricket Australia’s board of directors is reportedly meeting on Monday to discuss whether the suspensions handed out to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal should be reduced.
Smith and Warner were banned for a year, while Bancroft was handed a nine-month suspension by Cricket Australia after they admitted to trying to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper during the Newlands Test against South Africa in March.
Calls have been growing for Smith and Warner – who recently padded up in club cricket in Australia – to return to the international fold after a string of poor performances by the national team.
The Australian Cricketers Association had already called for the bans to be slashed after the publication of a scathing report by Sydney-based Ethics Centre, which accused Cricket Australia of having played a part in the ball-tampering scandal.
The players’ union had painted the three Test stars as victims of circumstance and said they should be free to take the field again at the top level. The ACA argued that the “win-without-counting-the-costs” mentality of Cricket Australia contributed to the players’ decision to tamper with the ball.
The seven-member Cricket Australia board is meeting on Monday to discuss several issues related to the bans, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. The decision of the board is likely to be announced on Tuesday, the report added. However, even if the bans are reduced, the three players will not be able to return to Test cricket immediately, the report said, meaning they would be unlikely to take part in the four-match Test series against India.
Smith and Warner’s suspensions, as they stand, will end on March 29, while Bancroft will be free to play international and domestic cricket after December 29.
Former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson is against the reduction of the bans:
However, off-spinner Nathan Lyon would like to see the banned trio playing state-level Shield cricket son.
“Always want to see them playing Shield cricket, I think the whole of Australia would like to see them playing Shield cricket,” Lyon was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s up to the powers that be to make that decision, and no matter what decision they make, we’ll respect that.
“I actually think the way Steve and Davey are going about it, they’ve been absolutely incredible and what they’re doing for grade cricket in Sydney has been exceptional. I actually take my hat off to them.”
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell had also said that Australian players have been paying for the mistakes of the administrators and that his been the “history of the game”.
With inputs from AFP