Rhodes: 'Life bans for ball tampering? Let’s be reasonable'

Former South Africa international Jonty Rhodes says Steve Smith and David Warner do not deserve to be banned for life, as the punishment does not fit the crime.

Jonty Rhodes in Bengaluru on Tuesday.   -  Sampath Kumar GP

Former South Africa international Jonty Rhodes said here Steve Smith and David Warner do not deserve to be banned for life, as the punishment does not fit the crime.

Rhodes, who is in the city as Advisor of StarPick Fantasy Sports Private Limited, added that this recent ball-tampering incident was a far milder offence than the match-fixing scandal that rocked his home nation nearly 18 years ago. Excerpts:

ICC ruling: The ICC punishments handed to Smith (one-Test ban, 100 per cent match fee) and Bancroft (75 per cent match fee fine) were within the scope of the law, which is good. But knowing the psyche of the Australian public, and how they view their national sports teams, there could be further sanctions from Cricket Australia.

However, life bans for Smith and David Warner will be excessive. I was with the South African team when the Hansie Cronje match-fixing saga unfolded. Some of the guys involved got life bans. That was fine, as the punishment fit the crime. Yes, what the Australians did was illegal, but life bans for ball tampering? Let’s be reasonable.

Silly Bancroft: In modern cricket, we have 20 cameras or more watching every bit of the action. The policing is intense now. So, for Bancroft to get some foreign material to scruff the ball was pretty stupid. Maybe he is a card player or magician, who can make things disappear. But, I must say, he did hide that sandpaper pretty well. He put it deep inside his palm, and you couldn’t see the sandpaper until the slow motion replay came on the screen.

Hypocritical Darren Lehmann: I find it hypocritical of Lehmann to say that the South African crowds crossed the line with their behaviour in this series. Ask any team that has toured Australia — all of us visiting players have got roundly abused at Australian grounds. (Former South African offie) Pat Symcox even had a cooked chicken thrown at him (at the Sydney Cricket Ground, in 1997). As for the Australian players, they were once renowned for being a team that could dish it out as well as take it. Maybe things have changed now!

Australia paying the price: There was a time, not too long ago, when the Australians dominated world cricket for 15-20 years. Depending on who you asked, they were termed as aggressive or arrogant. Maybe these are the very characteristics that made them successful. Now, with this ball-tampering incident, the rest of us have found an opportunity to get the Aussies under the heel, and to really rub it in. This explains the overreaction to the whole incident.