Cricket Australia (CA) and the players’ union have agreed to disagree after the governing refused to soften any aspect of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft’s bans.
CA’s board reaffirmed on Tuesday the terms and length of the suspensions, issued in response to the Cape Town cheating scandal, will not change.
The governing body’s directors discussed the merits of a formal submission from the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), lodged shortly after an independent report suggested CA should shoulder some responsibility for the sandpaper scandal.
However, they opted against any change to the suspensions.
It means Smith and Warner will be restricted to grade cricket for the entire home summer, apart from a potential comeback in the Sheffield Shield final.
Bancroft, whose nine-month ban expires on December 29, will return during the Big Bash League.
ACA president Greg Dyer vowed three weeks ago his organisation would be “relentless” in its attempt to have the punishments reduced.
But the ACA agreed to draw a line under the matter on Tuesday.
“While the ACA respectfully disagrees with CA’s decision, it is accepted,” the union said in a statement.
“The ACA regards CA’s decision as disappointing. It remains the ACA’s view that a recalibration of these sanctions would have been a just outcome.
“The ACA has done all it could in support of our submission, and now considers the matter closed.”
CA’s interim chairman Earl Eddings made it clear on Tuesday, after his board “deliberated on the ACA’s submission at length”, that future calls to soften the bans will be futile.
“We believe the ongoing conversation about reducing the sanctions puts undue pressure on the three players – all of whom accepted the sanctions earlier this year – and the Australian men’s cricket team,” Eddings said in a statement.
“As such, the Cricket Australia board doesn’t intend to consider further calls for amendments to the sanctions.”
Representatives from CA and the ACA’s boards are expected to meet early next week. There is renewed hope in cricketing circles that the warring parties will rebuild their relationship despite the latest disagreement.
Smith and Warner, sacked as captain and vice-captain respectively as part of CA’s punishments, were given 12-month bans that covered internationals and domestic cricket in Australia.
The Ethics Centre’s review and ensuing resignation of chairman David Peever, who played a key role in CA’s hardline stance, fuelled speculation that Smith and Warner could be freed to play the second half of the Shield season.
“The original decision of the board to sanction the players was determined after rigorous discussion and consideration,” Eddings said.
“CA maintains that both the length and nature of the sanctions remain an appropriate response in light of the considerable impact on the reputation of Australian cricket, here and abroad.”