Steve Smith, David Warner cleared to play grade cricket

Former Australia captain and vice-captain will play for respective club sides in Sydney, but Bancroft has to wait on his clearance.

Steve Smith and David Warner
Steve Smith and David Warner celebrate with the Ashes Urn. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Steve Smith and David Warner, the former captain and vice-captain of Australia, who are currently serving 12-month bans, have been cleared to play grade cricket in the time they are out of the national side. The situation of Cameron Bancroft, the third player to be banned by Cricket Australia (CA) over the ball-tampering scandal, is not so clear-cut. A meeting on Monday 14 May between Western Australia’s Premier clubs will decide his fate, according to a report in cricket.com.au.

All three players were banned by CA in March after they were found guilty of colluding to alter the conditions of the ball during the Cape Town Test. The ban meant the players wouldn’t be allowed to play international and domestic cricket, but CA also explicitly stated that the players would be encouraged to play grade cricket.

Smith and Warner available for Grade matches

Applying CA’s sanctions, New South Wales Cricket Association (NSWCA) said they wouldn’t stand in the way of Smith and Warner, ensuring they would be available to play for Sutherland and Randwick-Petersham, their respective club sides. The Western Australia District Cricket Council, however, unique in Australia’s grade cricket system in that its committee is independent of the state body, will have the final word on Bancroft’s involvement in Premier Cricket competitions this season.

Christina Matthew, the WACA chief executive, had expressed her hope earlier that Bancroft wouldn’t be “the odd one out” between the three players if the other two were cleared to play grade cricket in Sydney.

All three players have already had other assignments terminated following their suspension by CA. Smith and Warner had their IPL 2018 contracts with Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively cancelled, while Bancroft was replaced at Somerset in the County Championship by fellow Australian opener Matt Renshaw.

Justin Langer open to having all players back

Justin Langer, the new Australia coach, has left the door open for their return after the completion of their bans, saying, “if they are willing to meet the standards of the Australian cricket team, I think everyone has a place.”

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