Smith suspended for fourth Test, Bancroft hit with hefty fine

Alastair Cook thoughts Steve Smith Cameron Bancroft ball tampering incident Australia South Africa 3rd Test Cape Town cricket

Steve Smith has been suspended for the fourth Test and fined 100 percent of his match fee, while Cameron Bancroft has been docked 75 percent of his match fee

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Australia captain Steve Smith won’t feature in the fourth Test against South Africa in Johannesburg after he was banned for one Test by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after admitting that his side had engaged in ball tampering.

Smith, who was also fined 100 percent of his match fee, and Australia opener Cameron Bancroft, who was docked 75 percent of his match fee, admitted that they attempted to alter the condition of the ball on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

The whole incident arose after Bancroft was seen taking a mysterious yellow paper-like item out of his pocket and putting it down his trousers.

Smith was charged for breaching Article 2.2.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which prohibits “all types of conduct of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.

Since Smith accepted the charge and the sanctions, which included two suspension points and four demerit points, there will be no need for a formal hearing.

Speaking about the decision, the governing body’s chief executive David Richardson was quoted by the ICC website as saying: “The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore ‘serious’ in nature.

“As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended.

“The game needs to have a hard look at itself. In recent weeks we have seen incidents of ugly sledging, send-offs, dissent against umpires’ decisions, a walk-off, ball tampering and some ordinary off-field behaviour.

“The ICC needs to do more to prevent poor behavior and better police the spirit of the game, defining more clearly what is expected of players and enforcing the regulations in a consistent fashion.

“In addition and most importantly Member countries need to show more accountability for their teams’ conduct. Winning is important but not at the expense of the spirit of the game which is intrinsic and precious to the sport of cricket. We have to raise the bar across all areas.”

Meanwhile, in addition to being fined 75 percent of his match fee, Bancroft was also received three demerit points for violating Article 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “changing the condition of the ball in breach of clause 41.3”.

Like Smith, Bancroft also accepted the charge and sanctions.

Match referee Andy Pycroft said: “To carry a foreign object on to the field of play with the intention of changing the condition of the ball to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent is against not only the Laws, but the Spirit of the game as well.

“That said, I acknowledge that Cameron has accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to the charge and apologising publicly. As a young player starting out in international cricket, I hope the lessons learned from this episode will strongly influence the way he plays the game during the rest of his career.”

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