Following the severity of sanctions imposed by Cricket Australia on Steve Smith and David Warner for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal, the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) has decided to challenge the quantum of sentence. On Wednesday (March 28), CA had banned former skipper Smith and vice-captain Warner for 12 months, while rookie opener Cameron Bancroft was handed a 9-month suspension from international cricket.
In a press release, ACA mentioned that cricket must always demonstrate principles and deeds consistent with both the laws and the spirit of the game. Criticising the harshness of sanctions, it further added that there are several conspicuous and clear anomalies in the process that has caused them to look into the sternness and proportionality of the imposed sanctions.
Let’s have a look at the anomalies that ACA has mentioned in their press release:
1. The grading and sanctions proposed are considerably higher than the ICC's grading and sanctions.
2. The disproportionally (sic) between the proposed sanctions and those previously handed down in world cricket for 'changing the condition of the ball' - including by Captains of international teams applying artificial substances.
3. The activation of CA's Board as a deliberative body on the proposed sanctions.
4. That public statements by CA to date have not referenced consideration of contextual factors including the environment in South Africa during the series and the impacts on individual players.
5. The rush to place players before the world's media last Saturday night without the benefit of considered and coherent advice.
"The ACA has also called for the proposed cultural review to be fully independent and to consider all relevant factors and context surrounding these acts. The examination must also extend to CA's response and process following Saturday's events," the ACA press release read.
"The ACA continues to provide welfare and legal support to all players. This welfare support will be critical at a time where the network and environment of each of the three players must play an active role in their rehabilitation," the media release further added.
"All Australians would understand the right of the players to receive advice from their advisers, peers and family and the time necessary to ensure the sanctions are fair and proportional," the release concluded.
Besides the proposed sanctions, Cricket Australia had also stated that each one of the convicted 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.
Smith, Warner and Bancroft are still eligible to compete in club cricket, however, they can’t take part in state or international games for the duration of their suspensions.