'Let Them Play': Calls For Warner, Smith And Bancroft's Cricket Bans To Be Lifted
The cricketers' union has called for the bans against Test stars Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft to be lifted, in the wake of the damning report into the Australian team after the 'sandpapergate' scandal.
The release of two reports on Monday, following Smith, Warner and Bancroft's involvement in ball-tampering in South Africa, recommended an overhaul of team culture in the Aussie squad, as well as greater attention paid to compassion, respect, and players' mental wellbeing.
Following the reports, which poured some of the blame onto the game's administration, the Australian Cricketers' Association called for the heavy bans imposed on the trio of players to be immediately removed.
"The ACA executive calls for the lifting of the board-imposed penalties on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft," said ACA president Greg Dyer.
He claimed Cricket Australia had the "moral obligation" to let the three players return to international cricket. All three have rejoined the game, playing in overseas or domestic competitions, but have not played for Australia since the South Africa series.
"What the Longstaff review reveals is that Cricket Australia itself must also take a share of responsibility for what happened in South Africa. Yes, this moment of madness was individual, but now there is evidence, and independent verification of system failure as well," Dyer said.
"This, we believe, is hugely significant. With this new information, common sense, common decency, basic fairness, proportionality, which we've talked about from the outset, and natural justice demand that the punishment is reduced."
Dyer said Bancroft, Smith and Warner had endured "public humiliation" since their bans, and were "contrite".
"My message to Cricket Australia is a simple one. These contrite men have been punished enough. Let them play," he said.
"I also offer a message to the Australian public on behalf of the ACA. In short, in common parlance, Australian cricketers get it. We assure you the players understand. They are remorseful. They get the need for change."