Truth behind Smith’s confession
A REPORT has emerged revealing Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft insisted on fronting the media after Australia's ball tampering was exposed on day three of the third Test in Cape Town.
Many, including Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) president Greg Dyer, have criticised the decision to put the pair up in front of journalists after the scandal broke, but it is believed the players took that call out of team management's hands.
Reports on Wednesday indicated Smith and Bancroft were advised to wait a day before going public with their confession, but wanted to be honest about what happened.
Smith was reportedly advised to offer few details because Bancroft had been charged by the match referee and promise to provide more information at a later date, but the 28-year-old was adamant about owning up to his mistake.
Many in the cricket world, including former Aussie Test stars Stuart Clark and Brendon Julian, believe Smith made things worse by himself by talking to the media after play because he didn't realise the seriousness of what was going on.
"What I'm sure the two boys thought was just a misdemeanour when they had the press conference is far bigger than what they ever imagined," Clark said last week.
"The two boys, when they did the press conference, they thought this would just be a slap on the wrist as every other one (incident of ball tampering) has been."
Smith and vice-captain David Warner have been banned from state and international cricket for 12 months while Bancroft has received a nine-month suspension.
The trio have until Wednesday next week to appeal their bans and the ACA has called on Cricket Australia to take into account their "extraordinary contrition", which was on display in three emotional press conferences upon their return to Australia.
Dyer has called on CA to consider recalibrating their bans, citing their "disproportionate" lengths of nine and 12 months.
But he says the trio's apologetic, emotional and sometimes teary media conferences after being sent home for their roles in the attempt to alter the ball in Cape Town should also be considered.
"The contrition shown by these men is extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary," Dyer said on Tuesday.
"Their distressed faces have sent a message across the world as effective as any sanction could be.
"I think Australia cried with Steve Smith last Thursday. I know I certainly did.
"We ask for this extraordinary contrition to be taken into account by Cricket Australia just as it would be in any fair and proper process."
In addition to their 12-month playing suspensions, Smith was barred from captaining his country for a further year while Warner won't again be considered for a leadership position.
Dyer would not shed light on whether the trio would appeal their sanctions with the players considering their options, as CA braces for the saga to continue. Warner and Smith at least are understood to be weighing appeals and Warner's lawyers have reportedly requested evidence gathered during CA's investigation after the scandal surfaced.
The ACA echoed a belief in some cricket circles the bans were too harsh given the International Cricket Council's maximum punishment for ball tampering is a one-Test ban.
"Of the dozen or so matters of this type, the most severe suspension to date has been a ban for two one-day internationals," Dyer said.
"The informed conclusion is that, as right as the motivation is, the proposed penalties are disproportionate relative to precedent.
"The ACA asks Cricket Australia in its final deliberation to consider all these factors.
"We ask consideration be given to recalibrating the proposed sanctions, to consider options such as suspending or reducing part of the sanction, to considering allow players to return to domestic cricket earlier as an important part of their rehabilitation."
Dyer expressed support for CA's decision to launch an independent review into the team's culture but said it should range further than just the realm of the players.
"Cricket's cultural challenge is broader than the culture of the change room, broader than the behaviour of players. Organisational culture comes from its leadership, comes from the top," he said.
"Let's identify all the causes of the tipping point that occurred in Cape Town."