The one-year bans placed on former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith and his vice-captain David Warner for cheating have been lifted today.
The scandal* last year in South Africa, which also saw rookie* player Cameron Bancroft suspended for nine months for attempting to change the surface of the ball with sandpaper, was seen as a dark chapter* in Australian cricket.
Warner was widely believed to be the person who had the idea to use the sandpaper, with Bancroft carrying it out and captain Smith failing to step in and stop it even though he knew about it.
Not only were the players banned, but the incident in Cape Town forced former coach Darren Lehmann to quit and all the bosses from Cricket Australia left after a review found they had a “win at all costs” attitude that was partly to blame for the players bending the rules.
Today, Smith and Warner are expected to be welcomed back to the Australian team with open arms*.
Current Australian coach Justin Langer described their return as like “two brothers coming home”.
Smith, who joined Warner to meet up with the Australian players in Dubai last week, said: “It’s great to be back around the group, they’ve been really welcoming and almost like we’ve never left.”
Smith and Warner are currently easing their way back into form at the Indian Premier League and are expected to make their international return when Australia opens its World Cup defence against Afghanistan in Bristol on June 1.
Bancroft was recently appointed captain of English county cricket side Durham as he works to win a spot in the Test team for the upcoming Ashes* series against England.
Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts yesterday said he is confident Smith, Warner and Bancroft have learned their lessons and will live up to the national team’s new standards.
“I am only impressed with all three of the sanctioned* players in terms of what they have done over the last 12 months and how they have grown, all in different ways, different directions, different circumstances,” he said at the Melbourne Press Club.
- scandal: an event that shocks or brings shame
- rookie: first-time player
- dark chapter: a period of shame
- open arms: a warm welcome
- Ashes: series of Test matches between England and Australia every four years
- sanctioned: penalised or banned
- What leadership roles did Smith and Warner hold before the bans?
- How long was Cameron Bancroft suspended for?
- What did the Aussies use to alter the ball?
- Where did the incident happen?
- When are Smith and Warner likely to next play for Australia?
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