Who’s who at the centre of Australia’s ball-tampering plot
Press Association Sport takes a look at the trio banned over their role in the ball-tampering plot in Cape Town.
Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned for a year for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that has marred Australia’s tour of South Africa, with Cameron Bancroft given a nine-month suspension.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the trio at the centre of the ball-tampering plot in Cape Town.
Smith has been stripped of the captaincy and will not be considered for a leadership role for at least 12 months following the conclusion of his ban, with Tim Paine named as his replacement after Smith and Warner stood down midway through the tainted third Test.
Smith overcame a slow start to his career as a leg-spinning all-rounder to establish himself as the world’s number one-ranked Test batsman, and took over the captaincy in 2015. His batting and leadership have gone from strength to strength since but he will be defined by his ill-advised decision in this fractious series.
CA’s investigation found that Warner was Smith’s only partner in the much-discussed “leadership group” and he has long been established as Australia’s aggressor-in-chief – as an opening batsman, verbally and occasionally physically.
He famously punched England’s Joe Root in a bar before the 2013 Ashes while – in the current series in South Africa – he had to be restrained while arguing with Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock in a stairwell at Kingsmead and confronted a spectator in Cape Town before his involvement in the ball-tampering plot.
Warner’s opening partner was the man tasked with the tampering, using sandpaper to rough up the ball before attempting to hide the evidence down his trousers. He was handed three ICC demerit points and fined 75 per cent of his match fee before CA banned him for nine months.
As he acknowledged at his press conference following the close of that day’s play, it is not the first time he has “had to answer big questions” in his short international career – Bancroft was the player head-butted by England’s Jonny Bairstow in a bizarre incident in a Perth bar on the Ashes tour.
He averages just 30.92 after eight Tests at the top of the order, with a top score of 82 not out against England in Brisbane and two half-centuries in the South Africa series.