'Contrite' banned Australia trio should be free to play - ACA

Waugh called Australia's attempts to tamper with the ball using sandpaper as stupid

THE Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) has responded to the damning cultural reviews released by Cricket Australia (CA) on Monday, imploring the governing body to show leniency towards Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

"Responsibility for that larger picture lies with CA and not just the players held directly responsible for the appalling incidents at Newlands [in South Africa]", the report said.

But public reaction to the Australians' behaviour was furious, Smith was stripped of the captaincy and all three players received lengthy bans. Warner and his wife weathered personalised abuse from spectators, abetted by South African ground officials, in the Test played before the ball-tampering scandal.

Cricket Australia chairman David Peever and new CEO Kevin Roberts have the task of turning things around.

Meanwhile, corporate governance experts said the board should take responsibility for Cricket Australia's failings as the game's insiders reveal there is increasing anger at Mr Peever's leadership.

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While Lehmann's view of the mood of the Australian public might be reflective of the "bubble" the review said surrounded top players, test greats Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Doug Walters have also called for a reduction to the bans.

Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann, who stood down in the wake of the scandal, also joined calls to have the bans set aside and allow the trio to return to state and worldwide cricket.

Dyer and Nicholson refused to speculate on what course of action it would take if CA rejected calls for Smith, Warner and Bancroft to return to action.

"A constant complaint from players who contributed to this review is that they are treated as if they are assets of the game - commodities of variable value", the report said.

Former Australian southpaw batsman Simon Katich believes bans on Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft should not get lifted.

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The review warned that the ball-tampering incident should not be seen as an aberration or the failure of a handful of players. "I'd like to see Mark Taylor stand up as chairman of Cricket Australia", he said.

Cricket Australia's investigation into the scandal in Cape Town determined that only three people were to blame.

The report added: "Australian cricket has lost its balance. and has stumbled badly".

But the governing body is under renewed pressure to cut the sanctions after a 145-page report by the Ethics Centre slammed the culture within the Australian game.

CA's Pat Howard and Ian Roy completed a formal investigation into the sandpaper saga in two days. "Rather, it made the fateful mistake of enacting a program that would lead to "winning without counting the costs". I'm receiving as many messages from people suggesting that the suspensions are too lenient as those who are sending messages saying they're too harsh", he said.

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