FORMER AUSTRALIA captain Steve Smith has said he does not feel hard done by after Yorkshire batsman Nicholas Pooran received a much lighter ban for ball-tampering than he did.
Smith was banned for one year after Australia changed the condition of the ball during a Test match against South Africa at Cape Town in 2018.
Opening batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were also banned for their part in what became known as “sandpaper-gate”.
Pooran, in contrast, was banned for four T20 internationals after being caught on camera using his thumb to scrape the ball and seam during West Indies’ one-day international against Afghanistan in Lucknow last week.
The 24-year-old can return to action on December 8 in the second of three T20 internationals against India after admitting “an extreme error of judgment” that “will not be repeated”.
Smith said: “I don’t feel hard done by. It was a long time ago now.
“I’ve moved past it and I’m focusing on the present.
“Everyone is different, every board is different and the way they deal with certain issues.
“For me, I copped it on the chin. It is what it is.”
Smith, who remains banned from any leadership role until March, is backing Pooran to learn from his transgression.
Yorkshire announced that they had signed Pooran to play in next year’s T20 Blast five days before an offence from which he has pledged to come back “stronger and wiser”.
Smith said: “I know Nicholas. I’ve played a bit of cricket with him and he’s a talented player, someone with a bright future.
“I think he’ll learn from his mistake and move past it. I think he’s going to be an exceptional player in white-ball cricket.”
Smith’s ball-tampering ban expired in March and he went on to play a key role as Australia retained the Ashes in England last summer.
The 30-year-old scored 774 runs in four appearances at 110.57, evoking comparisons with Don Bradman.
Smith was subject to further disciplinary sanction last week while playing for New South Wales against Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield.
He was fined 25 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision and apologised to team-mates for setting a bad example.
“Of course, I’ll still make mistakes,” he reflected.
“I’m a human being, we all do.”
Suggestions that Warner has learned from his mistake – he was exposed as ringleader of the plot to doctor the ball in Cape Town that heaped disgrace on his country – have been called into question amid further claims regarding his general behaviour.
Warner has been cited by England all-rounder Ben Stokes as having inspired him to produce his match-winning 135 not out in the Headingley Test match in August by virtue of his sledging.
In his latest book, Stokes writes of Warner: “The changed man he was adamant he’d become, the one that hardly said boo to a goose and even went as far as claiming he had been re-nicknamed ‘Humble’ by his Australia team-mates had disappeared. Maybe his lack of form in his new guise had persuaded him that he needed to get ‘the bull’ back?”
Stokes added: “He just wouldn’t shut up for most of my time out there. I had extra personal motivation due to some things that were said to me.”
Tim Paine, the Australia captain, has waded into the controversy by defending Warner, who had a disastrous Ashes series that brought him 95 runs in 10 innings at an average of 9.5, with 61 of those runs coming in one innings.
Asked whether it was a cheap shot by Stokes, Paine replied, “Oh, absolutely”, adding that “it just seems to be a common trend in England that they like to use Davey’s name to spike book sales”.
Wicketkeeper Paine, who was in close proximity to slip fielder Warner throughout the series, continued: “I was obviously standing next to David the whole time and you are allowed to talk on the cricket field.
“But by no means was he abusing him (Stokes) or sledging him.”
Dawid Malan, the England batsman signed by Yorkshire on a four-year deal from Middlesex, has joined Cumilla Warriors in the Bangladesh Premier League.
The 32-year-old had previously played in the T20 competition for Barisal Bulls and Khulna Titans.
Malan is one of five English players picked up along with Laurie Evans, Ravi Bopara, Lewis Gregory and Luis Reece. The tournament is due to start on December 11 and finish on January 16.
Malan is currently playing in the T10 League in Abu Dhabi. His three innings for the Qalandars franchise have yielded scores of 33, 1 and 32.