Steve Smith banned for just one Test: Another case of blatant bias by ICC?

By: | Published: March 26, 2018 1:52 PM

What is even more mind-boggling is the fact that Cameron Bancroft, the man who had actually used the sandpaper to scuff up one side of the ball, even escaped the suspension and was fined just 75 per cent of his match fee.

ball tampering, steve smith, steve smith and cameron bancroft, bancroft, icc on ball tampering, south africa vs australia, australia vs south africa, steve smith suspended, icc, cape town test, sports newsMany former cricketers took to Twitter and blasted ICC for giving an easy pass to Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft.

About two weeks ago, South African fast-bowler Kagiso Rabada was banned for two matches by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on charges of ‘making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact’ with the Australian captain, Steve Smith, during the second Test of the four-match series between Australia and South Africa in Port Elizabeth. The punishment for Steve Smith, on the other hand, who admitted that he along with some other Australian players was involved in pre-planned ‘cheating’, was a one-match ban! The fans may keep scratching their heads but yes that’s how differently ICC has treated these two cases.

Rabada’s punishment was eventually brought down to a one-match ban and 25% match fee after the pacer was able to prove that he did not deliberately make contact with Smith’s shoulder during a fiery send-off. Still, when you assess the seriousness of the two incidents, even a person with little knowledge of cricket would conclude that Smith deserved a far more strict punishment.

What is even more mind-boggling is the fact that Cameron Bancroft, the man who had actually used the sandpaper to scuff up one side of the ball, even escaped the suspension and was fined just 75 per cent of his match fee, the same punishment that was given to former Indian opener Virender Sehwag in 2001 for “excessive appealing” against South Africa. “Even the Australians would be giggling after hearing that judgement!” is what former England wicketkeeper Matt Prior wrote on Twitter.

Many other former cricketers took to Twitter and blasted ICC for giving an easy pass to Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft. Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh reminded of two separate incidents that clearly point at ICC’s biases.

“wow @ICC wow. Great treatment nd FairPlay. No ban for Bancroft with all the evidences whereas 6 of us were banned for excessive appealing in South Africa 2001 without any evidence and Remember Sydney 2008? Not found guilty and banned for 3 matches.different people different rules,” the off-spinner said.

Harbhajan referred to the Port Elizabeth incident when the off-spinner along with Sachin Tendulkar, opening batsman Shiv Sunder Das, wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta and Virender Sehwag was given a one-match ban. Not just this, the then skipper Sourav Ganguly was also banned for one Test match and two one-day internationals for not appropriately controlling the actions of his players.

Another Indian player recently faced a one-match for a bizarre reason after the on-field umpire had concluded that the all-rounder had thrown the ball inappropriately at the other player during the match.

Even when former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi was caught on camera biting the ball, he was given a ‘two’ match suspension despite admitting that it happened in the heat of the moment.

On the other hand, Smith accepted that what happened in Cape Town wasn’t in the heat of the moment. It was discussed by the team’s tank during the lunch break which makes it a clear case of cheating. Yet, ICC’s lenient take on the incident clearly defies understanding.

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