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Sandpaper Gate: Early reprieve for banned trio?

November 18, 2018 21:16 IST

CA braces for final deliberation

Steve Smith

IMAGE: Australia's David Warner and Steve Smith. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Australian cricket authorities are bracing up for a final round of deliberations on reducing the ball-tampering ban on Steve Smith and David Warner, with a face-off against an upbeat India awaiting the weakened home team.

According to Fairfax Media, the CA board will convene a meeting early this week to discuss whether the ban on Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft should be reduced.

 

This comes in the wake of the Australian Cricketers' Association asking for a rethink on the suspension sentences following the Longstaff review, which the ACA said provided new and compelling evidence that CA - and not just the players involved - contributed to the atmosphere that prompted the events of the Cape Town Test in March.

Australian cricket is enduring one of its worst phases and a run of losses in recent times prompted calls to bring back the two star players before the contests against India.

Smith and Warner are eight months into their one-year bans, while Bancroft will be eligible to return in December. But there has been calls for the bans on Smith and Warner to be reduced, given Australia's poor form and the fact that the top Test side in the world are coming around.

ACA chiefs Al Nicholson and Greg Dyer and their board, according to Fairfax Media, had planned to meet the CA board to discuss their submission before a call was made.

While the players' association is keen on another round of communication with CA, it was learnt that the Board would call the ACA only if it feels it needs clarity or more information on its submission.

Johnson says bans against Australian trio should stay

Former pacer Mitchell Johnson on Sunday said the ball-tampering ban on the Australian trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft should not be reduced as the players have not challenged the board's sentence.

Australian cricket is enduring one of its worst phases and a run of losses in recent times prompted calls to bring back the two star players -- Smith and Warner -- before the contests against India.

While then skipper Smith and Warner were handed one-year ban, Cameron Bancroft, the third player involved in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, was handed a nine-month suspension following the infamous 'Sandpaper Gate' scandal.

Johnson, however, has spoken against it.

"I thought 3 players were banned. So does that mean Cameron Bancroft's ban will be reduced to the same amount as Smith & Warner if it goes ahead? They all accepted their bans & didn't contest it so I think the bans should stay," Johnson tweeted.

The former Australia pacer was responding to a cricket journalist's tweet, where he wrote about the possibility of ban reduction being 'seriously discussed'.

Australia are slated to play India in four Tests, three One-day Internationals and as many T20 Internationals.

Johnson is not the first Australian cricketer to say that the bans should remain. Former skipper Ian Chappel had earlier mentioned that the bans should not be reduced.

"Do I think that some of the bans should have been reduced? No, I don't think they should, because of the things that came out of the long staff review was that they felt the attitude was to win and don't count the cost. If they would have brought Smith, Warner, and Bancroft back into the team against India, then they would say 'here we go again', don't count the cost let's just make sure we win," Chappell had told ESPNcricinfo.

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