Steven Smith and David Warner will not be allowed to play in IPL 2018 because of their roles in the pre-meditated plan to tamper with the ball on the third day of the Cape Town Test against South Africa.
The decision from the BCCI – announced by IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla – came as news broke that Cricket Australia was banning the players for 12 months, in the wake of tremendous outrage over the incident at Newlands from the Australian public, the Australian government and sponsors.
Smith and Warner had already stood down as captains of their IPL franchises – Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad – on Monday and Wednesday morning, but their non-participation in this season was only confirmed after they were banned by CA.
The IPL will allow both franchises to pick a replacement player. Royals have already named Ajinkya Rahane as their captain for the season, but Sunrisers have not yet announced who will replace Warner.
“The CoA, in consultation with BCCI acting president Mr CK Khanna, IPL chairman Mr Rajeev Shukla and BCCI acting hon. secretary Mr Amitabh Choudhary, has decided to ban Mr Smith and Mr Warner with immediate effect from participation in IPL 2018,” the BCCI said in a statement. “The BCCI hopes that the cricketers participating in the IPL hold the highest regard for the Spirit of Cricket and Code of Conduct for Players and Match Officials.”
The ball-tampering incident took place during the afternoon session on day three at Newlands and was picked up on by TV cameras. A small, yellow object was seen in Australian fielder Cameron Bancroft’s hands after he had worked on the ball, which he later revealed was adhesive tape with soil particles on it. He was also captured taking the tape from his pocket and placing it down his trousers.
The footage showed Bancroft rubbing the rough side of the ball, the opposite side to which he would usually be trying to shine on his trousers. He put the object down his pants after being spoken to by the substitute Peter Handscomb, who had come on to the field after speaking to Australia coach Darren Lehmann over a walkie talkie. Lehmann seemed to speak to Handscomb after footage of Bancroft working on the ball was shown on the TV screens at the ground.
The on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth were then seen speaking with Bancroft, though they did not choose to change the ball or penalise the Australians five runs – the statutory on-field penalty for illegally changing the condition of the ball. When Bancroft spoke to the umpires, he was shown holding a bigger, black cloth rather than the small yellow object he had earlier seemed to place down his trousers.
Smith and Bancroft owned up to the offence at the press conference after play on the third day, and while Warner was not initially at the forefront of the scandal, a view is emerging that he had hatched the idea to tamper with the ball and delegated it to his opening partner Bancroft, with Smith’s approval. Smith and Warner were stood down as Australia’s captain and vice-captain during the Newlands Test, and both players took the field on the fourth day under wicketkeeper Tim Paine’s leadership.
Warner, Smith and Bancroft were later sent home from South Africa by CA, with the board CEO James Sutherland saying the forthcoming sanctions against them were likely to be “significant”. The ICC had already suspended Smith – who was fined 100% of his match fee and given four demerit points – from the fourth Test against South Africa, while Bancroft was given three demerit points and fined 75% of his match fee. There was no ICC sanction against Warner.