Stars hit back at Cricket Australia stance

CALLS to reduce the bans of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been renewed after Cricket Australia’s independent review in the team culture was released.

It looks to be the new battlefield between Australian cricketers and the under-fire administrator after Cricket Australia chairman David Peever rejected calls for change.

From the moment Smith and Warner were banned for a year, and Bancroft for nine months, there has been widespread discontent within cricketing circles about the terms and length of those punishments.

With the independent report from The Ethics Centre painting a picture of the Cricket Australia culture as “arrogant”, “bullying” and “dictatorial”, Australian Cricketers Association president Greg Dyer declared it must prompt a rethink.

“There must be a reconsideration of the harshness of the penalties,” Dyer said in a statement.

“Basic fairness demands these independently verified contributing factors must now be taken into consideration and the penalties reduced.”

Cricket Australia’s code of conduct says once a penalty is accepted, there’s no scope for it to be altered.

Steve Smith is playing for Sutherland despite still being ranked the second best Test batsman in the world.Source:AAP

Cricket Australia chairman David Peever insists there is nothing that will alter his board’s hardline stance on Smith, Warner and Bancroft.

“There was a full investigation and that was the outcome of the investigation,” Peever said.

“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.”

Peever was interviewed on the ABC’s 7.30 and Peever reiterated the sanctions would stand.

Pressed further by host Leigh Sales on whether the board and senior executive would step down, Peever said undertaking an independent review was an example of the board accepting accountability.

“As chairman of the board and on behalf of the board, we accept our share of accountability for what happened in South Africa,” Peever said.

“Had we not accepted that accountability, we wouldn’t have instituted and commissioned an independent review and, indeed, would not be publishing the report in full, which we are doing. The interests of complete transparency and in the better interests of the game.”

He said the CA board was taking the recommendations “very serious” and that many were already being actioned.

Australian test captain Tim Paine addressed the Cricket Australia press conference.Source:Getty Images

When asked about the resignation and subsequent criticisms from former board member Bob Every over his performance including the handling of the media negotiations for the broadcast rights, management of succession planning, the damaging pay dispute with the players and sponsors discontinuing or downgrading their deals, Peever said the game was in a positive place.

“Cricket is in a very good place in this country by almost any measure, by participation, the women’s game is going from strength to strength, our Big Bash leagues, both women’s and men’s, are very strong, engaging fans — the attendances were a record last year — so the game is in a very strong place,” he said.

“We have had a hiccup in South Africa and we are taking the opportunity to learn the lessons of that so that we can make the game even stronger.”

It’s a strange stance when the report argues “Responsibility for that larger picture lies with CA and not just the players held directly responsible for the appalling incident at Newlands”.

Twitter was quick to call out Peever’s performance.

It’s all about going forward says ACA chair David Peever “we accept our share of accountability” ????? #CricketAustralia

Fair question. Pretty unsatisfactory answer. #abc730 https://t.co/SRxzBsRzNu

It has been part of a wave of criticism for Cricket Australia and renewed anger over the bans for Smith, Warner and Bancroft.

The sanctions were hardly mentioned in the 145-page report but it did say “People report a high level of satisfaction with regard to the manner and speed in which CA responded to events in Cape Town”.

Cricket Australia’s Pat Howard and Ian Roy completed a formal investigation into the sandpaper saga in two days and the bans were quickly accepted by the players.

Icon Shane Warne was quick to register his disappointment, accusing CA of caving to public hysteria and highlighting how other international players walked away with a fine for tampering.

Earlier this month, Warne said he didn’t think the punishment fit the crime.

David Warner has hit two centuries for Randwick-Petersham in grade cricket.Source:Getty Images

Former national coach Darren Lehmann is among many key figures to declare Smith, Warner and Bancroft should be allowed to play Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League.

Several Test players are privately peeved their banned teammates won’t be lining up against India this summer.

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh was on SEN Afternoons and said Cricket Australia should rethink the bans.

“I think it’s worth contemplating (reducing the bans),” Waugh said.

“But at the end of the day, I think the guys have accepted it and they’ve probably moved on — it was harsh.

“Cricket Australia, to their credit, stepped up to the plate where the ICC wouldn’t, whether it’s too strong or not that’s debatable.

“Perhaps it is lengthy, but at the end of the day, I think the guys by accepting those bans are on their way to getting the public back onside.”

Yesterday, Waugh said the ICC should take some of the blame for letting ball tampering get out of control.

Smith and Warner, who boast a combined 138 Tests of experience, are yet to speak publicly since returning home from the Caribbean Premier League more than a month ago.

Steve Smith had an emotional press conference when he accepted the Cricket Australia ban.Source:Getty Images

Speaking to the Wide World of Sports, former Australian captain Ian Chappell said it was a “ridiculous” state of affairs that players were the only victims of the ball-tampering scandal.

“If people in administration don’t pay the price, it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Chappell said.

“If it was fair, the players would get the opportunity to hand out the punishments to the administrators, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

“I wouldn’t blame the players if they’re very angry that Smith, Warner and Bancroft have been suspended but no administrator is getting any punishment.”

The reports have long touted and had 42 recommendations but Chappell didn’t think there would be any big changes as a result.

“Reviews, I don’t have a lot of faith in them,” he said.

“I didn’t have much faith that the reviews were going to do much. And from what I’ve gathered so far, it hasn’t told me anything you couldn’t work out from spending a bit of time around the game.”

with AAP

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