Despite the irony of ball-tampering Protea Faf du Plessis calling for harsher ball-tampering penalties, there is some information coming from The Daily Telegraph and Channel 9 that Steve Smith and David Warner could have their one-year suspensions softened.
Cricket Australia dropped the willow on the pair after the disgraceful incident in Cape Town, South Africa. The report indicates that the two will not be permitted to return early to international play, but that they could get into the final stages of the interstate Sheffield Shield competition.
“It’s still a long way from happening and there’s plenty of hoops to jump through, but I think the public sentiment is starting to shift in favour of allowing them to play domestically,” an unnamed source was quoted by Channel 9.
We were not the unnamed source, for the record, although we do gratefully enjoy our anonymity, as it makes us immune to criticism.
The source mentioned that allowing Smith and Warner into Shield would boost the quality of the series and would provide an opportunity for young bowlers to test their mettle agasint top batsmen.
All that would be necessary would be Smith and Warner to sign pledges to never touch the ball, although both could point the finger at Cameron Bancroft and lay the corpse at the feet of the rookie who did the actual dirty work.
Warner and Smith are at present playing for the Global T20 Canada league, and as things now stand, they would be ineligible to play for Australia before the end of March, 2019.
We are not exactly sure who thought that the penalties levied agasint Smith and Warner were too harsh, but precedent proves that there have been similar cases where players guilty of more or less the same thing have been let off with one-match suspensions.
As for Bancroft, his nine-month CA imposed ban expires midway through the Big Bash League season. He is currently playing in the NT Strike League in Darwin, a fate possibly worse than Canada.