Former speedster describes Australia bans as a ‘slap on the wrist’

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Former West Indies fast bowling legend, Sir Curtly Ambrose has labelled the suspensions imposed by both the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket Australia (CA) on three Australian cricketers in a ball-tampering scandal, as a “slap on the wrist.”
Former captain Steven Smith and batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft apologised last week over the incident, which happened in a Test match in South Africa.
The trio was each given one-match suspensions by the ICC and had to forfeit their match fees. While Smith and Warner received 12-month bans from the sport, Cricket Australia suspended Bancroft for nine months.
This, Ambrose said, is not a deterrent.
“Remember the ICC only gave them one-match suspensions and their match fees, and, to me, that was a slap on the wrist because something like that should be more than just a one match and match fees. These guys should be banned for a couple of years because that’s foolishness, to be honest. It’s telling me that I can cheat as much as I want and be prepared to just get a match off and my match fee and that’s ok,” he said.
“The one year by Australia now, is much better but is it enough? I think not, because if it was something that was in the heat of the moment, then you could give and take. But, they admitted to planning it. So the main fact that they planned it, to me, they deserved a little more than one year,” Sir Curtly said.
His comments come as the players’ union in Australia is asking Cricket Australia to reconsider the bans imposed on the players.
Australian media outlets have reported that the players, in particular former vice-captain Warner, are considering whether to challenge the bans.
One other former bowing legend and the first Antiguan to play for the senior regional squad, Sir Andy Roberts, believes that a simple solution to the ball-tampering issue is to mandate that only the active bowler is allowed to shine the ball.
“Only one person should shine and that one person … is the bowler who is bowling at the moment. So, if there is anything, like any tampering of the ball, you would know who is bowling at that time, so you deal with them. At the end of every over the umpires’ call for the ball … would look [inspect] the ball at the end of each over,” he said.
Sir Curtly, however, disagreed, adding that it was foolish of the Australians to think they could get away with the act.
“I slightly disagree with Mr. Roberts, in terms of the bowler being the only person, because there are two bowlers operating from both ends, and if Mr. Roberts decides to tamper with the ball and I am not doing it, then I am in trouble too, so I want to make that clear,” he said.
“I found it quite amazing that the Australians took that gamble with so many TV cameras around these days. This is not 30 or 40 years ago and it was so blatant and that’s total stupidity in my opinion,” the former pacer said.
Cricket Australia’s investigation found that Warner had instructed Bancroft to carry out the plan to scratch the ball with sandpaper, and demonstrated to him how to do it.
Degrading one side of a ball can help it to swing in the air, making it harder for batsmen to play.
Coach Darren Lehmann resigned last week, despite Cricket Australia finding that he had no involvement in the incident.
Under the sanctions, Warner will not be considered for any Australian team leadership positions in the future, while Smith and Bancroft cannot assume captaincy roles for at least two years.
Smith and Warner have also resigned from the captaincies of their Indian Premier League teams, and lost lucrative sponsorship deals.

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