ACA questions 'severity and proportionality' of ball-tampering sanctions
The "severity and proportionality" of the sanctions imposed on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft by Cricket Australia (CA) following the ball-tampering scandal have been questioned by the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA).
Smith and Warner were banned for 12 months from international and domestic cricket, while Bancroft received a nine-month suspension, for using sandpaper to try to alter the condition of the ball in the third Test against South Africa at Newlands on Saturday.
Warner has been charged with developing the plan and providing instructions for Bancroft to carry it out, while Smith was deemed to have had knowledge of the idea and failed to take steps to prevent its implementation. All three players are entitled to appeal the sanctions.
Smith, who has been replaced as captain by Tim Paine and will not be considered for a leadership role for two years, was only suspended for the fourth Test by the ICC, while Bancroft was cleared to play, receiving three demerit points and being docked 75 per cent of his match fee.
The ACA has subsequently questioned the sanctions handed down by CA, while also pointing to what it perceives as "glaring and clear anomalies" in the organisation's process.
An ACA statement read: "There are a number of glaring and clear anomalies in the process to date which causes the ACA to query the severity and proportionality of the proposed sanctions.
"The grading and sanctions proposed are considerably higher than the ICC's grading and sanctions;
"The disproportionally [sic] between the proposed sanctions and those previously handed down in world cricket for 'changing the condition of the ball' - including by captains of international teams applying artificial substances;
"The activation of CA's board as a deliberative body on the proposed sanctions;
"That public statements by CA to date have not referenced consideration of contextual factors including the environment in South Africa during the series and the impacts on individual players;
"The rush to place players before the world's media last Saturday night without the benefit of considered and coherent advice."
The ACA acknowledges the trio "made very serious mistakes in South Africa" and called for CA's "response and process" to Saturday's events to be included as part of the governing body's proposed culture review.
Although there was criticism from the players' association, the Australian Sports Commission praised CA for taking "decisive action to reinforce its commitment to the values of fair play and integrity".