Aussie cricket union urges cut to Smith, Warner bans

Steve Waugh,Ball Tampering,Steve Waugh Ball Tampering

The report's findings that the win-at-all-costs culture of Cricket Australia directly contributed to the ball-tampering scandal have led to widespread calls for Smith, Bancroft and Warner to be allowed to play in this summer's Big Bash and Sheffield Shield competitions. It threw a spotlight on the entire Cricket Australia set-up - from the boardroom to the national men's team - and led to two reviews being set up, the findings of which will be released in Melbourne on Monday.

Bancroft has almost served his nine-month ban and will be free to return to all forms of the game in December.

Without Mr Peever's resignation sidelined players Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner have little chance of returning.

The ACA also called for the "urgent" implementation of all 42 recommendations in the 145-page report, which included complaints from those involved in the sport of a bullying culture in elite men's cricket.

"Responsibility for that larger picture lies with CA and not just the players held directly responsible for the appalling incidents at Newlands [in South Africa]", the report said.

Peever has so far avoided joining an exodus of senior figures, with chief executive James Sutherland, coach Darren Lehmann and team performance boss Pat Howard all resigning in the wake of the scandal.

Peever said some of the responses had been "at times hard to read and in some instances, hard to agree with", although Cricket Australia respected the review's findings.

In their first Test series since the ball-tampering scandal erupted in South Africa, Australia were beaten by Pakistan earlier this month.

Words such as arrogant, dictatorial, controlling, disrespectful, and hypocritical were used to describe the culture that festered within Australian cricket. Smith, Warner and Bancroft have each missed three Tests and been sidelined for six months.

Peever said the episode had been "extremely regrettable" and Cricket Australia's response had been "necessarily tough".

"The bans have been handed down and the boys have copped them, as you'd expect".

The players, who were involved in a bitter pay dispute with CA a year ago, felt they were treated as commodities, whose only value to the organisation was driving commercial success.

"If the culture was better, and the relationship between the players and the CA was better, there may well have been a different response".

But CA Chairman David Peever has rejected the possibility of reducing the bans. "We now need a strong board with a commitment to a way of being that is unimpeachable, that we can be proud of", while an unnamed CA staff member said "we are obsessed with being No.1 but it's fool's gold".

To coincide with the report's release, CA released a "players pact" calling on cricketers to respect the game's tradition and "make Australians proud".

"I think, potentially for a little bit, we got a little bit wrapped up in our own self-importance", he said.

"I think the general feeling around Australia, certainly the people I talk to, is they want them playing again, at worst domestic cricket".



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