Sport

Ball-Tampering Saga: Cricketers’ Association says Press Conference ‘Rushed’, Asks for Penalties to be Reconsidered

A composite image shows three men in separate photographs with neutral expressions

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) has questioned the process that led Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft to be “rushed to a press conference minutes after leaving the field” after the ball-tampering incident in South Africa.

The players’ body will ask Cricket Australia to reconsider the sanctions given to the players as well as that given to former vice-captain David Warner.

Smith and Warner received 12-month bans while Bancroft received a nine-month ban over the scandal that outraged the Australian public and raised questions over the culture of the sport.

Speaking today, Mr Dyer said the penalties were “disproportionate” and the contrition expressed by the players has been “so extraordinary”.

“Their distressed faces have sent a message across the globe as effective as any sanctions could be,” he said.

“I think Australia cried with Steve Smith last Thursday, I certainly did.

“We expect this contrition to be taken into account by ACA as any other process.”

Mr Dyer said Smith and Bancroft were “rushed” when they first addressed media over the incident.

“It would be unfair to any person in any workplace to be rushed in this fashion,” he said.

“The pressure the players were under, was not an excuse, but it is relevant.”

Mr Dyer also addressed the questions around the “win-at-all-costs” culture within Australian cricket, saying “organisational culture comes from its leadership and it comes from the top”, while calling for a review.

“Arguably, cricket has become, win-at-all-cost on and off the field. We have lost something in the spirit of the game and determination to be the best,” he said.

“The anguish in the Australian community which we have all sensed over these matters is direct the bleak attributable to the fact that the spirit of cricket could possibly be lost forever.

“Cricket therefore needs to take decisive action to restore its rightful position in the hearts and minds of all Australians. This is why I need a far-reaching review of the culture of the game.”

Warner may contest ban

It appears increasingly possible that Warner will contest his year-long ban from international and domestic cricket.

Warner’s legal team has reportedly requested transcripts from the interviews Cricket Australia conducted during its investigation into the ball tampering.

ACA board member Janet Torney said it was important Warner, Smith and Bancroft had all the information they needed before responding to their sanctions.

“Full information process is really what’s important in this,” she said.

“Each player will assess what they need to actually be able to make those decisions.

“The process needs to be looked at and people need to be able to have the flexibility in their choices within that fair and reasonable process.”

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