Even before Cricket Australia officially announced sanctions against Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their part in the ball-tampering episode in Cape Town last weekend, the Board of Control for Cricket in India moved swiftly by banning Smith and Warner from IPL 2018.
With CA set to hand out 12-month bans from international cricket for Smith, the captain, and Warner, his deputy, their participation in the IPL had always been in doubt. Those doubts were cleared initially by Rajeev Shukla, the chairman of the IPL who told reporters, “The players that they have banned, we are also barring those two players from this season. The franchises will get replacement for the players.”
A little while later, the BCCI sent out a press release which said the Committee of Administrators appointed by the Supreme Court arrived at this decision in consultation with top BCCI officials, adding that the CoA had taken congnisance of the developments in the incident involving the three Australians.
“The CoA, in consultation with BCCI Acting President Mr CK Khanna, IPL Chairman Mr Rajeev Shukla and BCCI Acting Hon. Secretary Mr Amitabh Choudhary, has decided to ban Mr Smith and Mr Warner with immediate effect from participation in IPL 2018,” the release said.
It added, “The BCCI hopes that the cricketers participating in the IPL hold the highest regard for the Spirit of Cricket and Code of Conduct for Players and Match Officials. The concerned IPL franchises will be allowed replacement players.”
Smith had stepped down as captain of Rajasthan Royals on Monday, following which the franchise named Ajinkya Rahane, the Indian Test vice-captain, as their leader for this year’s campaign. Warner quit as Sunrisers Hyderabad captain on Wednesday afternoon. The franchise is yet to name a replacement skipper, though it is learnt that Kane Williamson, the New Zealand skipper, has emerged the frontrunner. Others in the fray could be Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan.
Both Rajasthan and Hyderabad have a host of players from which to pick replacements for the two top-order batsmen. Among them are Martin Guptill, Joe Root, Alex Hales, Colin Ingram, Jonny Bairstow as well as Luke Ronchi, the player of the tournament in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League.
Smith and Warner were retained by the respective franchises for Rs 12 crore each ahead of the January IPL auctions.