Australia Cricketers’ Association president Greg Dyer has quoted, “Rushed Justice can be flawed sometimes”.
Evidently, his statement referred to Cricket Australia’s (CA) decision to hand out punishment so soon after the incident.
CA has banned Steve Smith, David Warner for 12 months and Cameron Bancroft for 9 months over the ball-tampering row which broke out during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. However, Australian Cricketers’ Association has argued by calling the punishment disproportionate to the previous ball-tampering cases.
Greg Dyer has urged a relaxation of the bans to allow the men to return for domestic action sooner and said that ACA had studied dozens of the previous cases and they found that the most severe punishment was a ban for two ODIs.
He also backed the players and called the concern of the players “extraordinary” and should be taken into consideration.
A hyped matter?
A timeline of events has followed ever since the ball-tampering controversy broke out. From social media outrage to Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull jumping right into the matter by condemning the event; the ball-tampering controversy became the eye of the storm.
ICC fined Steve Smith’s match fee and punished him with a one-match suspension and handed over three demerit points to Bancroft and fined 75 percent of the match fees.
However, Warner escaped any sanction and the International Cricket Council left the rest of the decision to Cricket Australia.
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In the hierarchy of misdemeanors, ball tampering does not rate that high but Smith’s admission of pre-planned conspiracy made the episode of ball-tampering worst.
Cricket Australia envisioned the row as a mission and wanted to set an example by imposing ‘significant’ sanctions on the cricketers. They went on to ban Smith and Warner for a year and Bancroft for nine months.
They also announced their plans of not giving any leadership roles to Smith and Cameron for coming two years and asserted that David Warner would never get an opportunity to lead the Aussie side.
The world has witnessed probably four of the highly emotional press conferences of Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft, Darren Lehmann-who resigned as the coach of Australia team in the wake of the scandal and David Warner in the last few days.
Distraught and devastated, the cricketers have come forward to take responsibility and have apologized to the world for hurting the spirit of the game.
What they did on the ground during the third Test against South Africa was not justified but CA should have probably taken the right steps to uphold the integrity of the game and not merely using the cricketers as tools to exhibit their might as the Australian cricket board.
Trial by combat
Dyer said the win-at-all-costs culture of Australian cricket must be addressed and the game must be examined from top to bottom.
He emphasized on identifying all the causes of the tipping point that occurred in Cape Town. All three men will inform Cricket Australia whether they accept their punishment or will opt for a hearing, as is their right.
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Now as it remains to be seen whether CA softens its stance or not. But, the decision should be free from political and other internal influences if they desire not to sully the fair name of the sport.