Nehra: ‘It will be sad if Smith and Warner don’t play IPL’

Smith has been suspended for a Test and docked 100 percent of his match fee, by the ICC, for instigating Cameron Bancroft to tamper the ball, with a sandpaper, during the third day of the third Test against South Africa, in Cape Town.

When asked whether bowlers should get some leeway as reverse swing is a difficult art, Ashish Nehra gave an inimitable reply.   -  PTI

Ashish Nehra does not support a “life ban” on Steve Smith and David Warner for their involvement in the ball-tampering issue as the leadership group.

“Such incidents have happened even in the past. If the ICC (International Cricket Council) feels that Cameron Bancroft or Smith have done something wrong, then definitely they should be penalised,” said Nehra.

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He, however, insisted, “Life ban will be really harsh for them. Not just for them, but for any player. You have to give them credit that they admitted their mistakes. I think to step down from the captaincy and a one-Test ban is enough for both the players.”

Reflecting on his experience of playing against Australia, he added, “They have always played hard cricket, though crossing the line is not a good thing.

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“Sledging does happen here and there, but it is about performing in tough conditions. Smith and Warner are not just talking, but performing too.”

He called for restraint when handing Smith and Warner punishment. “I don’t think they deserve such harsh punishments, whatever happened let us forget and move forward. These things can happen when you are playing abroad. Smith has admitted his mistake and also stepped down as captain of the team. They are quality players and it will be sad if they miss out on IPL.”

Nehra was speaking at an event to announce Hewlett Packard (HP) as the principal sponsor of Royal Challengers Bangalore. The former India left-arm pacer has been appointed as the bowling coach/mentor of RCB this season.

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On his new role, Nehra said, “I’m not going to do any coaching at RCB. Coaching is required at the U-16 and U-19 levels. At the IPL level, you need to be a good man-manager. So I would like to share my experience.

“I have some experience of playing in the IPL. The Bengaluru wicket has never been easy for bowlers, except for last year when it helped the spinners. My role is to ensure what is best for that ground. My rapport with Virat (Kohli) will also help,” he said.

“Ball tampering,” Nehra pointed out, “is more in red ball cricket where you have longer sessions. You won’t see ball tampering in white ball cricket, especially now when you have two new balls operating from either end.”