On Wednesday, Cricket Australia handed down the punishment that will also see Warner and Smith banned from leading Australia for the next two years. Cameron Bancroft, who carried out the cheating in South Africa, was given a nine-month ban by Cricket Australia. Coach Darren Lehmann has escaped sanctions and is said to have been unaware of the plot to tamper with the ball. Outside of the treatment given to match fixers, there is no precedent in cricket for such heavy sentences. They are certainly not in line with those given to the other players who have been caught ball-tampering in recent years.
According to the investigation, all the other people in the Australian dressing room, the coaches and team-mates, the bowlers who were actually handling the ball, knew nothing about the plan until they saw it unfold on TV, when Darren Lehmann is supposed to have called the 12th man, Peter Handscomb, to ask him to find out “what the fuck is going on”. Then he questioned the players after the close of play.
Smith, Warner and Bancroft are banned from international and Australian domestic cricket. They will also serve 100 hours of “voluntary service in community cricket” and can appeal against the suspension. Cricket Australia said the players would be “permitted to play [Australian] club cricket and will be encouraged to do so”. They also remain eligible for competition outside of Australia.
However, Smith, who was replaced as captain of IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals this week, will not participate in the 11th season of the lucrative T20 league. Warner also relinquished his role as captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad. While as per the CA verdict the trio is allowed to play county cricket and IPL, on Wednesday IPL Chief Rajiv Shukla confirmed that neither will turn out for their respective franchises this year. Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad had retained Smith and Warner for Rs 12 crore and Rs 12.5 crore, respectively.
If Smith is banned for a year, he stands to lose roughly $4.5 million from on-field earnings alone. The Australia captain is on the highest retainer contract list with a base salary of around $2 million per year as he pockets $14,000 per Test. The players involved could also suffer financial losses from advertisements as sponsors seek to distance themselves from the matter – South Korean electronics company LG has already decided not to renew a sponsorship deal with Warner.
The scandal has sparked widespread fury and disappointment, even eliciting a response from Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia. According to cricket.com.au, he told reporters that the whole country “holds those who wear the baggy green up on a pedestal — about as high as you can get in Australia, higher than any politician, that’s for sure. …”