The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday (March 25) handed a one-match suspension and fined 100% of his match fee to Australia skipper Steve Smith following his confession yesterday to tamper the ball during the third day’s play in the ongoing Newlands Test against South Africa.
“ICC Chief Executive David Richardson laid the charge against Smith under to Article 2.2.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel which prohibits to ‘all types of conduct of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game’,” ICC’s statement on Steve Smith read.
“Smith accepted the charge and the proposed sanction of two suspension points which equates to a ban for the next Test match and which will see four demerit points added to his record,” the statement further added.
Besides, the rookie Australia opener Cameron Bancroft has been penalized 75 percent of his match fee and awarded three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct.
“Bancroft admitted that he breached Article 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “changing the condition of the ball in breach of clause 41.3.” and accepted the sanction proposed by Andy Pycroft of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees, and as such there was no need for a formal hearing,” ICC’s statement on Bancroft read.
The incident that led to such charges occurred during South Africa’s innings on Saturday after the post-lunch session. Cameras caught Bancroft using a foreign object to work on the ball. Video aired by the official broadcaster shows Bancroft using a small, yellow object hidden in his palm, as he rubbed the ball with his palm and then onto his trousers. He is then seen transferring something from that palm into his right pocket.
The footage was brought to the notice of the two on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth, who immediately halted play and conferred in the middle of the pitch. Subsequently, the umpires called Australia captain Steve Smith and Bancroft for a discussion.
Commenting on his decision match-referee, Andy Pycroft said: “To carry a foreign object on to the field of play with the intention of changing the condition of the ball to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent is against not only the Laws, but the Spirit of the game as well.
“That said, I acknowledge that Cameron has accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to the charge and apologising publicly. As a young player starting out in international cricket, I hope the lessons learned from this episode will strongly influence the way he plays the game during the rest of his career,” he further explained.
It is worth mentioning here that all Level 2 breaches carry a minimum penalty of a fine of between 50-100 percent of the applicable match fee and/or up to two suspension points.
The ICC chief David Richardson also issued a statement wherein he made it clear that the game needs to have a hard look at itself considering the ugly scenes in the ongoing Test series between South Africa and Australia.
“The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore ‘serious’ in nature. As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended,” Richardson quoted as saying by ICC’s official website.
“The game needs to have a hard look at itself. In recent weeks we have seen incidents of ugly sledging, send-offs, dissent against umpires’ decisions, a walk-off, ball tampering and some ordinary off-field behaviour.
“The ICC needs to do more to prevent poor behavior and better police the spirit of the game, defining more clearly what is expected of players and enforcing the regulations in a consistent fashion. In addition and most importantly Member countries need to show more accountability for their teams’ conduct. Winning is important but not at the expense of the spirit of the game which is intrinsic and precious to the sport of cricket. We have to raise the bar across all areas,” Richardson concluded.