Steve Smith, David Warner could get life ban from Cricket Australia

By @saihoops on
Australia's tour of South Africa, Steve Smith, David Warner
Cricket - South Africa vs Australia - First Test Match - Kingsmead Stadium, Durban, South Africa - March 5, 2018. Australia's David Warner and Steve Smith leave the pitch after beating South Africa. Reuters / Rogan Ward

Australia captain Steve Smith and deputy David Warner potentially face a life ban for cheating under Cricket Australia's code of behaviour, according to several reports. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Smith and Warner for the fourth Test against South Africa on the grounds of ball tampering.

Smith and Warner stepped down from their roles Sunday after pleading guilty to ball-tampering during the third day of the third Test match against South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town. Cameron Bancroft, who was assigned the task of tampering with the ball, escaped a ban but was fined 75% of his match fees and slapped with three disciplinary demerit points by the ICC.

According to ESPNCricinfo, CA's head of integrity Iain Roy and team performance manager Pat Howard have reached South Africa to commence their investigation. CA had reportedly bowed to pressure from Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia, and Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to strip Smith and Warner of their leadership roles for the final two days of the Cape Town Test.

Steve Smith, David Warner face life ban?

The report adds that Smith and Warner could face the most severe punishment possible. James Sutherland, the chief executive of Cricket Australia, issued a public apology to Australian cricket fans.

"To our Australian Cricket Fans, we are sorry. We are sorry that you had to wake up this morning to news from South Africa that our Australian Men's Cricket team and our Captain admitted to conduct that is outside both the Laws of our game and the Spirit of Cricket. This behaviour calls into question the integrity of the team and Cricket Australia," Sutherland said on Sunday.

The ASC supported the CA's decision to appoint Tim Paine as the temporary captain. "Given the admission by Australian captain Steve Smith, the ASC calls for him to be stood down immediately by Cricket Australia, along with any other members of the team leadership group or coaching staff who had prior awareness of, or involvement in, the plan to tamper with the ball. This can occur while Cricket Australia completes a full investigation."

The fourth and final Test of Australia's tour of South Africa gets underway at the New Wanderers Stadium starting Friday, March 30 in Johannesburg. South Africa claimed a 2-1 series lead Sunday courtesy a 322-run victory in the second Test at Cape Town. The Aussies would have to prevail at Johannesburg to square the Test series at two wins apiece.