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Warner joins Smith and Bancroft in accepting tampering ban

Australian cricketer David Warner listens to questions at a press conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 31. AFP
Australian cricketer David Warner listens to questions at a press conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 31. AFP

Warner joins Smith and Bancroft in accepting tampering ban

Former Australia cricket vice-captain David Warner on Thursday said he will not be challenging his 12-month ban for ball-tampering and would strive to be a better teammate and role model.

His decision, just hours before a deadline, followed a contrite Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft also accepting their sanctions on Wednesday.

Warner and Smith were last week suspended from international and domestic cricket for a year, while opening batsman Bancroft was exiled for nine months over the incident during the third Test in South Africa that shocked the sport.

The trio had until late on Thursday to tell Cricket Australia whether they accepted their punishment or would opt for a hearing, as is their right.

“I have today let Cricket Australia know that I fully accept the sanctions imposed on me,” Warner said on Twitter.

“I am truly sorry for my actions and will now do everything I can to be a better person, teammate and role model.”

CA chief executive James Sutherland said late on Thursday that the bans were “significant penalties” that were “not imposed lightly”.

“The events of Cape Town have severely affected the game,” he added.

“We know the players will return to playing the game they love, and in doing so, we hope they rebuild their careers and regain the trust of fans.”

Evading questions

Like Smith and Bancroft, Warner had held a tearful press conference on his return to Australia last week to accept responsibility for his part in the scandal that also saw coach Darren Lehmann quit.

But he pointedly evaded questions about whether the ball-tampering plot was his idea, whether it was the first time, who else was aware of it and whether he had been made a scapegoat.

He had not commented further since taking to social media a day later to confirm he was seeking advice on whether to challenge the ban.

Warner, 31, is seen as having the most at stake, admitting he was “resigned to the fact” he may never play for Australia again after being identified as the mastermind of the plan to use sandpaper to scratch the surface of the ball.

Smith was charged with knowledge of the potential ball-altering plot, but Warner was charged with developing it and instructing Bancroft to carry it out.

Since the scandal erupted, Warner and Smith have both lost a lucrative Indian Premier League contract and been dumped by sponsors.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association on Tuesday called for the bans to be reduced, arguing the punishment was disproportionate to previous ball-tampering cases.

ACA president Greg Dyer also said the contrition expressed by players had been “extraordinary” and should be taken into account, urging a relaxation to allow the men to return to domestic action sooner.

With the World Cup and an Ashes series in 2019, supporters of the players believe they need to be playing state cricket to be in the type of form that could warrant selection.

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