The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday handed Australia captain Steve Smith one-Test suspension and fined 100% of his match fee following his admission that he was party to a decision to attempt to change the condition of the ball in order to gain an unfair advantage during the third day’s play in the Cape Town Test against South Africa.
Smith was charged under to 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’. Smith accepted the charge and the proposed sanction of two suspension points which equates to a ban for the next Test match and which will see four demerit points added to his record.
“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,” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said.
“The game needs to have a hard look at itself. In the 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 behaviour 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.”
Opening batsman Bancroft, who was caught trying to alter the condition of the ball with a tape, has been fined 75 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct.
Bancroft admitted the breach, which relates to “changing the condition of the ball in breach of clause 41.3.” and accepted the sanction and as such there was no need for a formal hearing.
The incident that led to the charges being laid took place during South Africa’s innings on Saturday afternoon when Bancroft was seen on television holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers.
As soon as the incident was shown on the giant screen, the player was questioned in the presence of his captain Smith by the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, who, along with third umpire Ian Gould and fourth umpire Allahudien Palekar, later charged Bancroft.
The umpires inspected the ball at that time and elected not to replace the ball and award a 5-run penalty as they could not see any marks on the ball that suggested that its condition had been changed as a direct result of Bancroft’s actions.
The umpires, though, agreed that Bancroft’s actions were likely to alter the condition of the ball and he was therefore charged under Article 2.2.9.
(As per ICC Media Release)