Humiliated Australian cricket players Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft have announced they will not challenge their suspensions.
Team captain Smith copped a 12-month Cricket Australia ban from playing in all forms of international and state representative cricket for his failure to stop a plan to tamper with the ball during the third test match against South Africa in Cape Town last month. Bancroft was suspended for nine months after he confessed to using sandpaper – under instruction from vice-captain David Warner – to roughen the ball.
I would give anything to have this behind me and be back representing my country. But I meant what I said about taking full responsibility as Captain of the team. I won’t be challenging the sanctions. They’ve been imposed by CA to send a strong message and I have accepted them.
Today I lodged the paperwork with Cricket Australia and will be accepting the sanction handed down. I would love to put this behind me and will do whatever it takes to earn back the trust of the Australian public. Thank you to all those who have sent messages of support
Warner, who has been consulting lawyers, is yet to say if he will appeal his punishment as mastermind behind the tampering plan: a one-year ban like Smith, plus a life ban from captaincy. [Update – Warner announced later on the day of publication that he also would not contest the severity of his ban.]
Smith and Warner both also took a serious hit to the hip-pocket when the Indian Premier League back Cricket Australia’s disciplinary lead by tearing up their $2.4 million contracts.
They may yet suffer further loss if major sponsors Gray-Nicolls and New Balance withdraw their contracts.
The trio will be allowed to play grade cricket in Australia or for any club abroad. There is speculation that they may end up playing county cricket in the UK, but would still struggle to secure sponsorships.
The three were supposedly the only team members who knew there was a plan to cheat, but Cricket Australia is still investigating the circumstances and plans to conduct a complete overhaul of team culture.
Top image – screengrab from Smith’s Sydney Airport press conference after he was sent home from South Africa in disgrace.