It is not for the first time that someone has tampered with the ball in cricket. However, the backlash has never been bigger. Why Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are being treated as criminals? Is it as evil as match fixing?

 

The incident

3rd South Africa-Australia Test, Cape Town

In the second session on Saturday, television cameras capture Cameron Bancroft with a yellow object in his hand. After the day’s play, he says it was a piece of tape with chunks of the pitch on the sticky side. On day 3, Australia captain Steve Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft admit to ball-tampering.

Sequence of events that followed

  • ICC ban: The match referee Andy Pycroft charges Bancroft with a Level 2 offence of attempting to alter the condition of the ball. Steve Smith was slapped with a one-match ban, fined 100% of his match fee. Both Steve Smith and David Warner stand down as captain and vice-captain.

 

  • Cricket Australia jumps in: Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland fly to South Africa to report on all facts and people involved before official action will be taken.

 

  • Australian Prime Minister weighs in: PM Turnbull said the nation is ‘shocked and bitterly disappointed’ that the Australian cricket team could be ‘involved in cheating.’

 

  • Loses IPL captaincy: Smith gets stripped of Rajasthan Royals captaincy.

 

  • The trio sent home: Smith, Bancroft and Warner found to be the only ones that knew of tampering plan and have been sent home.

 

  • Cricket Australia bans: Smith and Warner banned by CA for 12 months, Bancroft gets 9-month ban.

 

  • IPL bans: Smith and Warner are barred from playing in the IPL.

 

  • Coach steps down: Darren Lehmann announced that the Johannesburg Test will be his last as Australia coach.

 

Ball-tampering in the past

2016: Faf du Plessis

TV footage shows Faf du Plessis applying saliva onto the ball from a mint or a lolly. Du Plessis was found guilty and fined his match fee.

 

2014: Vernon Philander

The South African was found to breach ICC’s clause of “scratching the ball with his fingers and thumb”, and was fined 75% of his match fee.

 

2013: Faf du Plessis

The South African was caught rubbing the ball on his zipper playing against Pakistan. He was slapped with a hefty fine but do not lose match time.

 

2010: Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi is caught biting the cricket ball in a bizarre attempt to re-adjust the seam of the ball. He is slapped with a two T20 international match ban for ball-tampering.

 

2005: Marcus Trescothick

The English opener admitted in his autobiography, Coming Back to Me, that he used mints to shine the ball to produce more swing. The admission came 3 years after 2005 Ashes series, wherein England beat Australia 2–1.

 

2000: Waqar Younis

Waqar Younis received a suspension for ball-tampering after a match in July 2000, plus a fine of 50% of his match fee.

 

1994: Michael Atherton

During a Test match with South Africa at Lord’s in 1994, television cameras capture Atherton rubbing a substance on the ball. He was slapped with a fine of £2,000 (£3,700 today) for failing to disclose the dirt to the match referee.