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Dublin: 10°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Australia cricket captain handed one-match ban for part in ball-tampering scandal

Opener Cameron Bancroft is free to play after escaping suspension though.

Australian skipper Steve Smith.
Australian skipper Steve Smith.
Image: Cameron Spencer

INTERNATIONAL CRICKET BOSSES have suspended Australia captain Steve Smith for one match and docked his entire match fee for the current Test after he admitted responsibility for the ball-tampering scandal in the ongoing game against South Africa.

Opener Cameron Bancroft, 25, was hit by three demerit points, fined 75% of his match fee and warned for his part in attempting to “change the condition of the ball in order to gain an unfair advantage” on Saturday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement.

“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,” said ICC chief executive David Richardson.

“As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended.”

The ICC statement said Smith had “accepted the charge” and a “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”.

Smith, 28, had admitted to planning the ball tampering during lunch on the third day of the fourth Test against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.

South Africa v Australia - 3rd Test: Day 3 Cameron Bankcroft. Source: Gallo Images

Bancroft was caught on television, first rubbing a piece of yellow sticky tape on the ball and then trying to hide the evidence down his trousers.

The plan was to attach a sticky substance to the ball that would pick up abrasive dirt from the pitch.

Australia were bowling at the time and the move was likely aimed at getting a more unpredictable bounce when the ball was bowled at the South Africa batsmen.

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,” said ICC refereeing chief Andy Pycroft.

Before the start of play on Sunday at Newlands, Smith and Australian vice-captain David Warner agreed to stand down from their positions for the remainder of the match.

Tim Paine led the team out on Sunday.

Richardson noted a worrying recent trend in cricket and said the time had come for the sport to take stock and fix its problems.

“The game needs to have a hard look at itself,” he said. “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.”

© AFP 2018

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