Smith, Warner banned for 12 months

March 29, 2018
Australian cricket player Steve Smith (centre) being escorted by police officers to a departure area at OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP):

Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned for 12 months yesterday after an investigation into the Australian cricket team's cheating scandal identified Warner as the instigator of the ball tampering plan that unravelled in South Africa.

Cricket Australia said Warner "instructed" young batsman Cameron Bancroft to carry out the tampering on the field with a piece of sandpaper even showed Bancroft how to do it then misled match officials and tried to cover up his role in the cheating.

Smith, the top Test batsman in the world and the star of Australian cricket, knew about the plan. But the captain failed "to take steps to seek to prevent the development and implementation of that plan," Cricket Australia said as it released the findings of the investigation by its head of integrity that dragged in all the players, coaches, and backroom staff for questioning.

Smith and Warner were banned from playing for Australia, or any high-level cricket in Australia, for a year. Bancroft, maybe because he's an impressionable newcomer in the team, received a nine-month ban.

The 28-year-old Smith will not be allowed to captain Australia for two years and Warner will never be allowed to hold a leadership position in Australian cricket again. At 31, Warner may never play for Australia again.

The fallout extended beyond Australia. The three players were also banned for the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League, denying them places in the lucrative Twenty20 tournament where players are paid big money to appear.

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