Australian captain Steve Smith has been handed a one-match suspension and a fine of 100 per cent of his match fee following the ball-tampering row to which he had admitted openly. Australian opener Cameron Bancroft has been fined 75 per cent of his match fee, along with three demerit points.
David Richardson, Chief Executive of International Cricket Council (ICC), had charged Smith under Article 2.2.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct, which reads “all types of conduct of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game prohibited.”
Smith accepted the charges against him and the given two suspension points, which equate to a ban for the next Test match, along with four demerit points being added to his record.
Richardson said “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. As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended. The game needs to have a hard look at itself. 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.”
Richardson added, “The ICC needs to do more to prevent poor behavior and better police the spirit of the game, defining more clearly what is expected of players and enforcing the regulations in a consistent fashion. In addition and most importantly Member countries need to show more accountability for their teams’ conduct. Winning is important but not at the expense of the spirit of the game which is intrinsic and precious to the sport of cricket. We have to raise the bar across all areas.”
Apart from Smith being given a one-match suspension and 100 per cent match fee, Australian opener Cameron Bancroft has also been fined 75 per cent of his match fee and has been handed three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the third day’s match on Saturday.
The Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct reads “changing the condition of the ball in breach of clause 41.3.”, to which Bancroft admitted and accepted the suspension proposed by Andy Pycroft of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees.
Since both Smith and Bancroft had accepted to the charges, no formal hearing was needed.
The incident of ball tampering was seen on Saturday when Bancroft was seen holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball before hiding the object in his trousers. The whole incident was shown on the large screen which led the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, along with the third umpire Ian Gould and fourth umpire Allahudien Palekar, charge Bancroft later.
The ball was inspected by all the umpires, who gave a 5-run penalty as they saw that the condition of the ball had been changed, thus charging Bancroft under Article 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct.
Pycroft, on his decision, said, “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. That said, I acknowledge that Cameron has accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to the charge and apologising publicly. As a young player starting out in international cricket, I hope the lessons learned from this episode will strongly influence the way he plays the game during the rest of his career.”