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Australia mull lifting ban on trio

Updated November 08, 2018

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In this March 2018 file photo, Cameron Bancroft of Australia (second R) is questioned by the umpire regarding ball tampering as captain Steve Smith looks on. — AP/File photo
In this March 2018 file photo, Cameron Bancroft of Australia (second R) is questioned by the umpire regarding ball tampering as captain Steve Smith looks on. — AP/File photo

MELBOURNE: Cricket Australia (CA) is considering a demand by the players’ union that ball-tampering bans on former captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft be lifted immediately, the governing body’s CEO Kevin Roberts said on Wednesday.

CA has come under pressure from the Australian Cricketers’ Asso­ciation (ACA) to end the bans following the release of the Longstaff review, which laid some of the blame for the Cape Town scandal at the door of the board.

“The ACA submission around the players’ sanctions was received by the board a few days ago,” Roberts told reporters. “It was addressed to the board rather than to me or all management. So not for me to comment on a board matter other than to say that the board will be respecting that submission and giving it due consideration.”

Smith and vice-captain Warner were each suspended for 12 months after the ball-tampering scandal broke in March, while opening batsman Bancroft was banned for nine months.

The bans extend to the domestic Sheffield Shield and the Big Bash Twenty20 competition.

A depleted Australia have struggled to recover from the crisis, with the Test team losing two of their last three matches since Tim Paine took over the captaincy in South Africa.

The one-day team, now led by Aaron Finch, have lost their last seven including a 5-0 whitewash by England and a stinging defeat in Sunday’s series-opener against South Africa in Perth after Pakistan had completed a 3-0 sweep of the Twwenty20 International series in the UAE.

Amid the teams’ struggles, a number of prominent cricket pundits and former players have said the ball-tampering bans were overly harsh and offered various suggestions as to how the three should be rehabilitated.

Roberts, who was at the centre of an acrimonious pay dispute with players last year, said repairing relations with the players’ union remained a top priority.

“I think what’s really important is that we at Cricket Australia need to embrace the players and we need to make sure that the players feel a really valued part of Cricket Australia,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018

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