David Peever, the Cricket Australia chairman, on Monday (October 29), noted that the sanctions handed out to David Warner, Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft in the aftermath of the ball tampering that unfurled in the Newlands Test would not be lifted. Smith and Warner were banned for a period of 12 months and Bancroft was handed out a ban of nine months.
Incidentally, players’ union had also reportedly called on the board to reconsider the bans imposed on the trio. “There was a full investigation, and that was the outcome,” Peever said. “The sanctions were carried out and imposed by the board after a very full and thoughtful process. And so the sanctions stand, as I said several weeks ago,” he added.
When the charges were levied under CA’s Code of Conduct, all three players were given the opportunity to file appeals that would have been heard by an independent commissioner. However, the trio accepted the charges as per the investigation that was conducted by CA’s then Head of Integrity, Iain Roy.
The decision also comes in the backdrop of Peever releasing the 145-page independent review, which criticised the board by noting that CA had created a “win-at-all-costs” mentality.
Among the report’s recommendations was that CA’s top brass also need to take the fair share of the responsibility “for the circumstances that gave rise to the ball-tampering incident. Not as a matter of direct, personal culpability but as a demonstration of responsible leadership and accountability”.
Meanwhile, in addition to the culture review a “players’ pact” has also been listed out by a panel headed by former Test cricketer Rick McCosker and comprising present Test captain Tim Paine as well as the head coach, Justin Langer.
“You’re never going to have a game of cricket played where the opposition isn’t going to speak to each other,” Paine said while unveiling the pact. “That’s always been part of the game, and I think it always will be. But we know what’s right, and we know what’s wrong. We know what Australian cricket expects of us, and we’ll be holding each other accountable.
“If it does happen, and it does start to get out of control, it won’t just be me, it will be a number of guys that know where we sit on that, on how far we go, and where we don’t go. I think the reflection of the public on how we behaved sat uncomfortably, but at the time – when you’re out in the middle – we just got caught up in the heat of the battle a few times. And the disappointing thing was when that happened, we didn’t play our best cricket.
“We allowed the emotion of the game to get the better of us, and that’s something we’re really cautious of now. When we’ve got our best team on the park, we’re as good as anyone in the world. So we want to make sure we’re playing the game on skill,” he said.
He also agreed about the report’s references to a ‘gilded bubble’, where the team gradually became disconnected from the grassroots game. He noted that on-field performances will lead to a change in perceptions.
“I do understand what’s meant by that. I think potentially, we got a bit wrapped up a bit in our own self-importance. We’re the lucky ones playing for Australia – it’s not our cricket team, it’s Australia’s cricket team and I think for a little while we lost that. So this coming season is more about giving back to our fans, getting outside of our bubble and trying to grow the game a little more. To think more of others, rather than just the 11 or 12 of us that are out there representing Australia.”