Canberra: Four days after they were exposed, Australian captain Steve Smith and Vice Captain David Warner were suspended by Cricket Australia (CA) on Wednesday for 12 months each and Cameron Bancroft for nine months over a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
CA Chief Executive James Sutherland met the players at their hotel in Johannesburg’s Sandton district to tell them their fate before they flew back to Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
According to the report, Smith broke the news to his teammates soon after he was handed his penalty. He has been stripped of the Australian captaincy, which is being taken over by Tim Paine on a full-time basis.
The incident took place on the third day of the third Test on March 24 in Cape Town.
Bancroft was caught on camera using what is believed to be a tape before attempting to hide the object down the front of his pants moments before the umpires seemingly inquired about the contents of his pockets.
Television footage later showed Bancroft rubbing the ball and then seemingly putting an object back in his pocket.
As soon as the incident was shown on the giant screen, the player was questioned in the presence of Smith by the two on-field umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong.
The on-field officials along with third umpire Ian Gould and fourth umpire Allahudien Palekar later charged Bancroft.
Smith and Bancroft admitted to the offence after play on the day, and Bancroft was charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for altering the condition of the ball.
CA on Tuesday decided to suspend the three players from the fourth Test. The players were found to have breached article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct, which relates to conduct at any time that is contrary to the spirit of the game, unbecoming of a representative, harmful to the interests of the game or bringing the game into disrepute.
CA is yet to confirm the sanctions off the back of the findings from the investigation into the ball-tampering incident carried out by CA Head of Integrity Iain Roy.
According to cricket.com.au, the CA Board, comprised of Chairman David Peever, Earl Eddings, Dr Bob Every, John Harnden, Tony Harrison, Jacquie Hey and Michelle Tredenick as well as former Test players Mark Taylor and Michael Kasprowicz, convened for two-and-a-half hours on Wednesday to determine the sanctions imposed on the guilty three.