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The ICC is still pondering ball-tampering suspensions

21st May, 2018
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Cameron Bancroft of Australia talks to the umpire. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)
Expert
21st May, 2018
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Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will be taking a very special interest in the ICC’s upcoming decision regarding future ball-tamperers.

Having spent arguably the worst two months of their lives living with 12-month suspensions for Smith, and Warner, and nine for Bancroft, for the Cape Town ball-tampering episode, it will be very interesting how the ICC will view the act in future.

It was an episode, even cheating, but not a scandal as the media trumpeted right round the cricketing world.

Is sledging scandalous, is it scandalous to appeal when the bowler knows the batsman hasn’t knicked it?

Of course not, nor is ball-tampering.

But the ICC said at the time it viewed tampering as a serious offence, and would do something about it, despite the fact it had belted the first official tamperer Mike Atherton with a wet lettuce leaf in 1994, and dished out the same ‘treatment’ to Sachin Tendulkar, Inzaman ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi and two-time offender Faf du Plessis ever since.

The ICC has been discussing the future for two months, and like everything the ICC does it hastens slowly, at other times rigor mortis sets in.

Cameron Bancroft

Cameron Bancroft of Australia talks to the umpire. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)

But a decision is nigh according to the ICC’s CEO David Richardson – sometime in June, or July.

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If it’s the latter that’s four months of discussion, hardly riveting, but vital to Smith, Warner and Bancroft.

If the maximum suspension is three, or four months, the Aussie trio will have every right to have their suspensions reduced to that number.

Having said that, Cricket Australia had little option to hand down the hefty suspensions to the trio, no doubt whipped along by the media-induced scandal making blazing headlines on both the front and back pages of newspapers, plus leading the television and radio coverage.

It reached saturation point, with scandal the key word.

But ball-tampering isn’t nearly as serious as match fixing, so let’s see what the ICC eventually come up with to cover ball-tampering, and any other incident viewed a bringing the game into disrepute.

The key ICC figures are David Richardson and Anil Kumble.

Richardson is a former South African keeper who played 42 Tests and 122 ODIs from 1991 to 1998.

As a lawyer he managed cricketers after retirement until he was appointed the ICC’s General Manager in 2002, and CEO in 2012.

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He’s a good man, and a good administrator, as is Kumble who is chairman of the powerful ICC Cricket Committee.

An Indian legend of 132 Tests, and 277 ODIs between 1990 and 2008 – and a former captain who holds a special record with Jim Laker as the only two in Test match history to capture all 10 wickets in an innings.

Kumble’s committee consists of Andrew Strauss, Mahela Jayawardene, Rahul Dravid, Darren Lehmann, Shaun Pollock, Richard Kettleborough and Ranjan Madugalle to name a few.

There are plenty of heavy hitters in that lot, but to Smith, Warner and Bancroft, they are the most important people on the planet.