30 Oct 2018

Cricket: Renewed calls for bans to be overturned

5:24 pm on 30 October 2018

The Australian Cricketers' Association has called for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft's bans to be lifted immediately, arguing new evidence must be taken into account.

The independent review, commissioned after the Cape Town ball- tampering furore, highlighted Cricket Australia's "arrogant" culture and noted "responsibility for that larger picture lies with CA and not just the players held directly responsible for the appalling incident at Newlands".

Steve Smith (right) and David Warner (centre) take to the field during Day 4 of the controversial test against South Africa in Capetown.

Steve Smith (right) and David Warner (centre) take to the field during Day 4 of the controversial test against South Africa in Capetown. Photo: Photosport

The ACA has formally called upon Cricket Australia's board to lift suspensions on the three players effective immediately in light of The Ethics Centre's "new and damning findings".

CA chairman David Peever has rejected the possibility of reducing the bans, saying after releasing the review findings "the sanctions were imposed by the board after a very full and thoughtful process and so the sanctions stand, as I said several weeks ago".

The governing body will almost certainly refuse to lift the bans immediately but if pressure continues to build it may potentially revisit a hardline stance that has upset a stack of past and present players.

Smith and Warner's 12-month bans are currently due to expire on March 28 while Bancroft will be free to play from December 29.

The trio opted against challenging those suspensions earlier this year.

ACA president Greg Dyer warned the governing body his organisation would be "relentless" in their bid to reduce sanctions on the Test trio.

Greg Dyer.

Greg Dyer. Photo: Supplied:ACA

"There is evidence and independent verification of system failure," Dyer said.

"I've been in the commercial world for 30 years now and I've never seen a report which is as harsh in its commentary of a corporate culture as this.

"Common sense, common decency, basic fairness, proportionality and natural justice demand that the punishment is reduced.

"The players have already lost time in the game, chances to play for Australia, endured public humiliation and faced massive financial penalties."

The justice meted out to the disgraced trio is hardly mentioned by The Ethics Centre in its 145-page summary of the sorry state of Australian cricket.

"People report a high level of satisfaction with regard to the manner and speed in which CA responded to events in Cape Town," the review says.

ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson argued the punishments were handed down without a proper understanding of the climate and culture in which the players erred.

When asked about the possibility of legal action, Nicholson replied "we just need to get through the first stage".

Dyer, who remarked earlier this year that "justice which is rushed can sometimes be flawed", has been perhaps the most vocal and consistent critic of the bans alongside former player Shane Warne.

Ironically, the review's most urgent recommendation was for CA and the ACA to establish a constructive working relationship within 30 days.