The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) has decided to challenge the severity of sanctions imposed by Cricket Australia (CA) on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that shook Australian cricket during the third Test against South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town. Following their investigation last week, CA had banned former skipper Smith and vice-captain Warner for 12 months, while rookie opener Bancroft was handed a 9-month suspension from international cricket.
On Tuesday (March 3), ACA president Greg Dyer termed the punishment as "disproportionate" and called for the bans on the convicted trio to be reduced. Besides the proposed sanctions, Cricket Australia had also stated that each one of the tainted trio will have to complete 100 hours of community service before being considered for future selection. While Smith and Bancroft will have to wait two years before they are considered for leadership roles, Warner will never again be considered for captaincy as he was found to be the instigator of the plan.
“Justice which is rushed can sometimes be very flawed," Greg Dyer quoted as saying by AFP.
"These proposed penalties are disproportionate relative to precedent," he added.
Dyer also said the regret expressed by players has been "extraordinary" and should be taken into consideration.
"Their distressed faces have sent a message across the globe as effective as any sanctions could be. I think Australia cried with Steve Smith last Thursday, I certainly did. We consider that the players need to return to domestic cricket earlier and as part of their rehabilitation," Dyer asserted.
It is believed that all three players are working closely with their managers and they will decide ‘what additional level of legal advice the tainted players need’ going forward. While the CA announced that Smith, Warner and Bancroft had seven days from the moment of formally receiving their charges to respond, the charge notes sent to all three players specified April 11 in Melbourne as the date and location for any hearing.
Dyer feels the "win-at-all-costs" culture of Australian cricket must be addressed by independent inquiry examining the game from top to bottom, reporting to both the ACA and CA.
"Organisational culture comes from its leadership and it comes from the top. It cannot be grafted onto the bottom. Let us identify all the causes of the tipping point that occurred in Cape Town," Greg Dyer concluded.
(With AFP Inputs)