Cricket review carnage over ‘draconian’ bans

THE board turfed out and banned players swept back in.

That’s the dramatic predictions forecast by cricket commentators when Cricket Australia releases its two reviews following the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal on Monday afternoon.

Cricket Australia board member Mark Taylor on Sunday conceded the board risks being sacked by state cricket delegates over the “confronting” revelations to be revealed in Monday’s press conference.

The Daily Telegraph meanwhile reports the Australian Cricketers Association will consider challenging the bans handed down to Steve Smith (12 months), David Warner (12 months) and Cameron Bancroft (nine months) — under the understanding that the reviews expose “systematic” cultural failures from board level down to grade cricket.

The ACA will reportedly demand the bans handed down be softened or overturned because no official, executive or director has been punished in anyway for Australian cricket’s cultural failings.

Fairfax Media reported on Monday morning the review into Cricket Australia’s culture, conducted by Simon Longstaff, reveals an “arrogant” administration contributed to the ball tampering scandal in South Africa.

Despite the Longstaff Review expected to paint an ugly picture of Cricket Australia’s executive culture, chairman David Peever is reportedly preparing to dig his heels in over the suspensions handed down to Smith, Warner and Bancroft.

Australian Test cricketer David Warner arriving back into Australia after the South Africa series.Source:Getty Images

The ACA is expected to challenge the suspensions on the grounds that the punishments were “disproportionate” to previous ball-tampering punishments and that the entire scandal was clouded by an unhealthy Australian cricket culture, established from board-level down.

Aussie cricket commentator Jim Maxwell on Sunday said he hopes the reviews lead to a softening of the bans handed down to the ball-tampering trio.

He told ABC Grandstand Smith, Warner and Bancroft should be allowed to return to Sheffield Shield cricket and the Big Bash before the end of the summer — and labelled the 12-month suspensions “draconian”.

Former Aussie test quick Geoff Lawson said on Monday morning he also believes the trio should be cleared to return to return for the second half of the Shield season.

“Those three young men have suffered more than you could possibly imagine,” Lawson told Sky Sports Radio.

“Financially, for Smith and Warner we’re talking about five, six or seven million dollars.

“The public embarrassment has been not just nation-wide, but around the world of cricket. They’ve paid enormous penalties. I’d like to see them back for the second half of the Sheffield Shield season.”

Former test captain Taylor told Channel 9 on Sunday the cultural review, which is separate from the Rick McCosker reviews into the Australian cricket team review, will be “confronting” reading.

“I have seen the review. It will be hard-hitting, confronting for CA and for anyone who loves the game of cricket,” the former Test skipper told Channel 9.

Steve Smith’s return to grade cricket in Sydney.Source:News Corp Australia

“Everything is on the table.”

He admitted there is a real possibility that state cricket delegates could consider calling for a vote to sack Peever and his fellow board members.

Under the Cricket Australia constitution, the board can be sacked with vote of 66.6 per cent of state delegates.

“At the end of the day, the CA constitution still allows states and territories to get together if they think there’s a need for a change at Board level, and that’s me included, to do that,” he told Nine.

““Whether it happens at an AGM (annual general meeting) or any time after, they are still more than within their rights under the constitution to do so.

“We’ve all been waiting to get this review out and I think tomorrow I’m very much looking forward to it, because I think all of us have had too much negativity around the game. Tomorrow is an opportunity to get it out there, people can make their own conclusions, and we can get on with thinking about the game next Sunday, the first men’s game here in Australia.”

— with AAP

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