Shane Warne reacts to Australia’s ball-tampering saga

(Photo: Getty Images)

By Adam Ellis

Australia’s record wicket-taker Shane Warne has labelled the bans handed to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft as ‘punishments that doesn’t fit the crime’.

Smith and Warner were handed 12-month suspensions by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft was hit with a nine-month sanction, for their roles in using sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test against South Africa.

Far in excess of the actions taken by the ICC to discipline the trio – Steve Smith copping the most severe punishment with a one-Test suspension and fine of 100% of his match fee – Warne claimed Cricket Australia had been distracted by the hysteria surrounding the ball-tampering episode.

“To hear that the Australian cricket team had been involved in pre-mediated cheating is something that is embarrassing. There is no way you can condone it,” Warne said.

“We are all so hurt and angry and maybe we weren’t so sure how to react. We’d just never seen it before.

“But the jump to hysteria is something that has elevated the offence beyond what they actually did, and maybe we’re at a point where the punishment just might not fit the crime.

“The hysteria has gone worldwide, and everyone that dislikes the way the Australian cricket team has played, and over the past five or so years there have been rumblings about the way this team has gone about things, have been given the opportunity to lay the boots in.

“Their actions were indefensible, and they need to be severely punished. But I don’t think a one-year ban is the answer.”

Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke have also voiced their disappointment over effect the situation has had on the reputation of Australia cricket. But Warne went one step further in suggesting the action he would have taken.

“My punishment would have been to miss the fourth Test match, a huge fine, and be sacked as captain and vice-captain,” Warne added.

“But they should still be allowed to play after that.”

Meanwhile, as Warne expressed his view Jonathan Trott went public with his own, paying attention only to David Warner.

The Warwickshire batsman left the England set-up midway through the 2013-14 Ashes series Down Under with a stress-related illness. A move described by Warner as a sign that Trott was ‘scared and ‘weak’.

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