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Cricket Australia bans three players in ball-tampering scandal

media Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft, along with captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner, were suspended for cheating in the South Africa Test series. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Australia’s cricket authorities suspended captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft on Wednesday after they were caught in a ball-tampering controversy in South Africa.

Cricket Australia handed Smith and Warner 12-month bans, which effectively end their lucrative contracts in the Indian Premier League, each of which are worth up to two million dollars.

Bancroft was given a nine-month ban, and he and Smith will be barred from leadership roles for a year following the end of their suspensions.

Warner, who Cricket Australia says hatched the plan, is banned from leadership spots for life.

The trio are on their way home from South Africa after being caught tampering with the ball in the third Test in Cape Town on Saturday.

Speaking from Johannesberg, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said the board worked quickly to find the right sanctions for the seriousness of the offenses.

“Clearly this has caused a huge amount of damage to the game of cricket as a whole, and certainly Australian cricket, and it’s compromised fans’ confidence and faith in cricket,” Sutherland said after the board announced the bans.

“It’s really our responsibility of players, administrators, coaches and others to restore that faith and confidence. There are millions and millions of Australians that love the game of cricket, and our job is to continue to inspire young people to love the game.”

Sutherland added that only the three players were aware of the attempts to tamper with the ball and that coach Darren Lehmann will remain in his post.

The fourth Test begins in Johannesburg on Friday.

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