This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Australia ball-tampering scandal that rocked world cricket. 

During the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March 2018, Australia opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera attempting to change the condition of the ball with a piece of sandpaper that he subsequently hid down the front of his trousers. 

Bancroft, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were subsequently banned by Cricket Australia (CA), as the cricketing fraternity expressed its severe condemnation of such a blatant act of cheating. 

Bancroft is back playing while Smith and Warner's lengthier suspensions are set to come to an end - in a World Cup and Ashes year, no less. 

Below, we recap the events of a damaging 12 months for Australian cricket.

 

March 24, 2018: During day three at Newlands, television replays begin to emerge of Bancroft rubbing the ball with sandpaper, which he then hides down his whites.

March 24: Bancroft and Smith face the media after the day's play, admitting - along with the "leadership group" - their plot to manipulate the ball, although they claim the foreign object was tape. Bancroft confirms he has been charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) while Smith insists he will not resign as skipper.

March 25: Amid rising condemnation, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is scathing in his assessment of the issue, saying the plan to cheat "beggars belief". CA promises to investigate.

March 25: Shortly before the start of day four, it is confirmed Smith and Warner will relinquish their leadership roles for the remainder of the Test, with Tim Paine taking over as captain.

March 25: The ICC announces that Smith has been suspended for the fourth Test, although Bancroft is free to play. Australia collapse from 57-0 to 107 all out to lose by 322 runs in Cape Town.

March 27: Smith, Bancroft and Warner are all sent home from the tour. CA decrees they were the only individuals who knew of the plan. Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell are called up.

March 28: CA hands Smith and Warner one-year bans from international and domestic cricket. Bancroft is suspended for nine months, while Warner will not be considered for any leadership roles in future. James Sutherland, CEO of CA, reiterates that head coach Darren Lehmann knew nothing of the plan. It is confirmed Bancroft used sandpaper and not tape on the ball.

March 29: An 'absolutely devastated' Smith breaks down in tears when addressing the media upon his return to Sydney. Bancroft also faces reporters and expresses remorse for his part in the fiasco.

March 29: Lehmann confirms he will resign from his post after the fourth Test. Sutherland insists he will not follow suit. Somerset cancel plans for Bancroft to join as the county's overseas player for 2018.

March 31: Speaking to the media at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Warner takes full responsibility for his actions while adding he has a "tiny ray of hope" that he will play for Australia again.

April 6: CA launches a review into "cultural, organisational and governance issues", employing an independent, player-driven panel to advise on future steps.

April 11: As expected, Smith, Warner and Bancroft are absent from CA's contract list for 2018-19.

May 2: Former opening batsman Justin Langer is appointed as Lehmann's successor as head coach.

June 3: Smith and Warner are each selected to play in the inaugural Global T20 Canada tournament. The pair later feature in the Caribbean and Bangladesh Premier Leagues, as well as Australian grade cricket.

June 13: During the first ODI between the sides at The Oval, England fans mock Australia's plight, distributing sandpaper marked with "4" and "6" to celebrate boundaries.

October 29: CA slammed as "arrogant" and "controlling" in the results of the body's independent review. 

December 26: In the build-up to the Boxing Day Test against India, Bancroft gives an interview during which he suggests the plan to tamper with the ball was Warner's. "I didn't know any better," says Bancroft.

December 30: Bancroft returns from his ban and scores two for Perth Scorchers in a Big Bash League defeat to Hobart Hurricanes.

March 8, 2019: Although set to be eligible for the final two matches of the ODI series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates following the expiry of their bans, Smith and Warner are not included in the Australia squad.

March 21: Durham announce Bancroft as their new captain for the County Championship and One-Day Cup ahead of the start of the English domestic season.

Troy Cooley has been appointed as Australia's bowling coach for the Ashes, 14 years after helping England regain the urn.

Cooley will take over from Tasmania coach Adam Griffith, who has been handed the role for the Cricket World Cup.

Justin Langer turned to the duo after David Saker - another former England coach - resigned in February.

Cooley worked with the Australia bowlers in the recent one-day international series in India, which the tourists won 3-2.

The 53-year-old is credited with playing an important role in England's victory over Australia in the classic 2005 Ashes series.

Australia have played 43 games across all formats in the time Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned - and the statistics suggest the two should have no problem walking back into the XI for the upcoming Ashes.

Ex-captain Smith and former vice-captain Warner are available to be selected for their country again from this week when the 12-month bans for their roles in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal come to an end.

Here, with the help of Opta, we take a look at how Australia's batsmen have fared across all three formats over the past year without the duo.

 

TESTS (P9 W3 D2 L4)

The first Test without Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who was given a nine-month ban for his part in the saga, ended in a 492-run loss to South Africa as the Proteas wrapped up a 3-1 series success.

Matthew Renshaw was one of those drafted in for that final match in Johannesburg, but having scored a cumulative 13 across two innings, he has not appeared in a Test since. 

Peter Handscomb initially filled Smith's spot at four and averaged fewer than 19 across seven innings, though Joe Burns was one of the success stories, the opener's 180 against Sri Lanka last month helping him to an average of 50 over the past year.

Travis Head (51) had a better average than Burns in that time, but openers Aaron Finch (27.8) and Marcus Harris (32.7) were unable to replicate Warner (48.2), particularly when they struggled in a 2-1 home series loss to India.

Having made his Test debut in October, Marnus Labuschagne batted at four in the recent two-match series with Sri Lanka, yet his average of 26.3 pales in comparison with Smith's 61.4.

 

ODIS (P18 W7 L11)

With a World Cup on English soil looming on the horizon later in 2019, Australia's 50-over fortunes were looking grim as little as three weeks ago.

A five-match series in India began with defeats in the opening two matches, meaning the world champions had lost 11 of 13 ODIs since the Newlands scandal.

But a stunning comeback sealed a 3-2 win over Virat Kohli's men, and Australia have continued that momentum in the UAE, where successive Finch hundreds mean the tourists lead Pakistan 2-0 in a best-of-five contest.

Those centuries have lifted Finch's ODI average across the past year to 39.4, while the likes of Usman Khawaja (60.9), Shaun Marsh (59.3) and Handscomb (52.1) have all benefitted from opportunities they may not otherwise have had.

Two months out from the start of the World Cup, the holders appear to be finding form at just the right time, and the returns of Smith and Warner will leave head coach Justin Langer nursing a welcome selection headache.

 

TWENTY20S (P16 W7 L8 NR1)

Smith's ban had little effect on his nation's T20 form - the 29-year-old having not featured in that format since March 2016 - yet Warner left a bigger void to fill having scored more than any other Australian in the shortest format.

Despite that, four leading batsmen averaged more than Warner's 26.7 over the previous 12 months.

Finch amassed 465 runs, though that total comes with the caveat that 324 of those were accrued in his first three innings. In his past 13 T20 knocks for Australia, Finch has averaged only 10.8.

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell (averaging 34), D'Arcy Short (28.3) and Head (27.3) were the others to shine in Warner and Smith's absences.

Andrew Hall says Cricket South Africa (CSA) must let young players know how highly they are regarded to prevent the cream of the crop from signing Kolpak deals.

The Proteas were rocked last month when seamer Duanne Olivier turned his back on his country to sign a three-year deal with Yorkshire.

Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw are among the other South Africa internationals who have signed Kolpak deals, while Morne Morkel joined Surrey after ending his Proteas career.

Former South Africa all-rounder Hall expects more to follow, but wants CSA to do everything in its powers to stop promising talent from slipping through the net.

He told Omnisport: "It's a tough one. It's more prevelant to the younger players who are coming through the system. 

"Cricket South Africa must earmark players and have open, honest conversations with them to let them know they have been identified and are being watched.

"They must be encouraged to keep playing and earn a place. There are times when you can't get into the side because of the players who are already established.

"I think back to having to compete with Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener - three world-class all-rounders - so it was difficult to get into that side and you have to keep working at it.

"But I was spoken to by the people in charge and told I was next in line. It gives you reassurances and that must happen now as the young players coming through are the ones, on the whole, who are going to be targeted."

Hall can understand why Olivier opted to ply his trade in county cricket.

He said of the 26-year-old's move to Headingley: "I would imagine that contract would have been signed last year, I don't think it's the type of thing that at the back end of him doing exceptionally well in the Tests, he'd say 'I'm just going to go and sign a Kolpak deal'.

"I think it was done prior to him having this good run of form where he's played in the system in South Africa [and] done well, he felt he's not going to get given a long run in Test cricket so because of that he signed a Kolpak deal.

"He's got to think of his future and we all know you only get a limited amount of time, so in his position he'll know he will be well looked after at Yorkshire.

"He could end up being there for the next five or 10 years. It's a catch 22 situation for him, but I would imagine with the money being talked of that he was offered, he would not make that in international cricket."

Rahmat Shah and Ihsanullah made half-centuries as Afghanistan sealed a historic first Test victory, recording a seven-wicket triumph over Ireland on day four in Dehradun.

Afghanistan needed 118 runs on Monday to win only the second match they have played in the longest format and Rahmat and Ihsanullah ensured in was mission accomplished.

Opener Ihsanullah batted with great application for an unbeaten 65 as the Ireland bowlers gave little away on a testing surface and Rahmat (72) played with more freedom in a second-wicket stand of 139.

Rahmat was named man of the match after following up his 98 in the first innings with another impressive knock, striking 12 boundaries while Ihsanullah ticked along at the other end.

The positive Rahmat was eventually stumped giving James Cameron-Dow the charge and Mohammad Nabi was run out going for a second off the next delivery in a frantic finish.

That presented Hashmatullah Shahidi with the opportunity to win it, which he duly did by pulling the next ball for four to spark jubilant celebrations.

Rashid Khan became the first Afghanistan bowler to claim a five-wicket Test haul to put his side on course for victory after Ireland suffered a middle-order collapse in Dehradun.

Spinner Rashid finished with figures of 5-82 as Ireland were dismissed for 288, setting Afghanistan 147 to seal a first victory in the longest format in what is only the second Test for both countries.

Afghanistan were 29-1 at stumps on Sunday, needing another 118 to secure a historic triumph in the one-off encounter.

Ireland were reduced to 33-2 early on the third day when Paul Stirling was trapped leg before by Yamin Ahmadzai (3-52), but a stand of 104 between Andy Balbirnie and James McCollum gave them hope.

Balbirnie struck 11 boundaries as the Afghanistan spinners were unable to make further inroads despite generating plenty of turn, but the number three was eventually on his way after edging Waqar Salamkheil behind for an excellent 82.

That dismissal early in the afternoon session sparked a flurry of wickets, Rashid striking twice as McCollum (39), Stuart Poynter and Stuart Thompson departed in a flash.

Kevin O'Brien (56) and George Dockrell (25) offered resistance with a seventh-wicket partnership of 63, but Rashid snared them both lbw before James Cameron-Dow (32 not out) and last man Tim Murtagh - who followed up a half-century in the first innings by making 27 second time around - frustrated Afghanistan.

The duo added 58 before Ireland were eventually dismissed after 93 overs, leaving their bowlers a small window to strike before the close.

Mohammad Shahzad fell caught behind to Andy McBrine as runs proved hard to come by early in Afghanistan's chase, though they will be expected to get home on Monday.

Steve Smith and David Warner have met their Australia team-mates in Dubai as they prepare to return to international cricket following lengthy suspensions. 

Smith and Warner were stripped of their roles as captain and vice-captain respectively and banned for 12 months for their involvement in a ball-tampering scandal during the Test series against South Africa in March 2018.

Australia, under new leadership in the form of coach Justin Langer, defeated India 3-2 away from home in a one-day international series this month, and are now preparing to take on Pakistan in the same format.

Smith and Warner, although eligible for selection, will not feature in the Middle East, as they recover from elbow injuries, and are due instead to compete in the Indian Premier League, before their anticipated involvement in the World Cup and then the Ashes in England.

"It's been great to be back around the group, they've been really welcoming again and it's almost like we never left, so everything is on the right track," Smith said.

Asked what the reunion has involved, the 29-year-old added: "It's just been going through the values that are instilled in the team at the moment, making sure we are on the right path looking forward to what's coming up - a huge World Cup and an Ashes series, it's a pretty exciting time ahead for the team so just making sure everyone is heading in the same direction. It's been very beneficial and really good."

Warner said: "It's been awesome, like we didn't really leave. The boys have been really accepting of us coming in with open arms and a lot of big hugs and cuddles. It's good to see the spirit they are in after a great series win in India."

Langer feels the returning duo have plenty to offer the team after a period in the wilderness. 

"It's great to have them back on the team, it's like two brothers coming back home," he said. "Brothers leave home for different reasons in families so nice to have them back in there. They've been received really well, we had a good night last night and some great meetings today so it's been really positive.

"They've gone through a really tough time, a 12-month suspension is unprecedented really, so they are excited and because they are so excited they have a hunger to play well and make a lot of runs to help the team be successful. When you are a coach with two guys with as many runs and experience as they've got coming back into a team that's playing it's pretty exciting."

New Zealand Cricket chief David White says "everything changes now" regarding team security in the country following the terror attack in Christchurch.

On Friday, 49 people were killed in the attack at a mosque near Hagley Oval, with the majority of the Bangladesh Test squad in a bus outside.

Team manager Khaled Mashud said the tourists were "very lucky" not to be caught up in the incident and their Test against New Zealand was subsequently cancelled.

Bangladesh returned home after the attack and, as New Zealand mourned, Black Caps CEO White acknowledged that it would impact how teams travel in future.

"This is shocking. This will change the entire fabric of international sports hosting," he said. "I think everything changes now.

"We'll certainly be having to look at our security in depth. I think the idea of New Zealand being a safe haven is gone now."

He added: "This isn't about cricket; it's about something much bigger and much more important than that. It's about life, it's about respect; it's about family and community.

"Cricket and sport take a back-seat to personal welfare."

Rahmat Shah fell just short of Afghanistan's first Test century but fifties from Hashmatullah Shahidi and Asghar Afghan pushed them into a strong position on day two against Ireland.

Rahmat fell on 98 and Afghanistan were eventually bowled out for 314, reaching stumps with a lead of 120 runs and boosted by the dismissal of captain William Porterfield for a duck in Ireland's second innings.

Afghanistan – who skittled Ireland for just 172 in their first innings on day one – added 67 runs to their overnight total in the first session before Andy McBrine broke the 130-run union between Rahmat and Shahidi, trapping the latter lbw on 61.

Rahmat chopped on agonisingly close to a maiden Test century and Mohammad Nabi followed before tea, with Asghar receiving minimal support from the tail during his knock of 67.

Rashid Khan was the only other Afghanistan batsman to reach double figures as Stuart Thompson claimed figures of 3-28.

The sixth and final wicket to fall in the last session was that of Porterfield, who edged Yamin Ahmadzai behind second ball as Ireland reached the close on 22-1.

Yamin Ahmadzai and Mohammad Nabi took three wickets apiece as Afghanistan skittled Ireland out cheaply on day one of the Test in Dehradun.

Ireland fell to pieces after William Porterfield won the toss in what is just the second Test for both sides, Afghanistan dismissing them for just 172.

It would have been much worse but for an unbeaten 52 from Tim Murtagh, who become only the 11th number 11 to top score in a Test innings.

Afghanistan were 90-2 in reply at stumps in the one-off Test, James Cameron-Dow taking both wickets.

Porterfield (9) and Paul Stirling (26) put on 37 for the first wicket but Afghanistan were on a roll after the latter edged the excellent Ahmadzai (3-41) behind.

The skipper followed in the next over, Nabi (3-36) trapping him leg before, and Rashid Khan struck twice as Ireland capitulated, losing five wickets for 14 runs to slump to 69-8.

George Dockrell (39) and Murtagh put on 87 for the last wicket to prevent Ireland from being totally humiliated, Ahmadzai finally claiming the elusive final wicket when the spinner nicked through to Ikram Ali Khil.

Mohammad Shahzad made an entertaining 40 before he was caught and bowled by Cameron-Dow, who also snared Ihsanullah (7) lbw, but Rahmat Shah (22 not out) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (13no) were still there at the close.

Team manager Khaled Mashud said Bangladesh players and staff were "very lucky" to escape unharmed as they were "three or four minutes" away from being inside a mosque where a terror attack unfolded on Friday.

Mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques resulted in 49 people being killed and 48 injured.

Mashud revealed that the majority of the tourists' squad were inside a bus outside the Al Noor mosque while a massacre took place and saw "bloodstained people staggering out".

He is quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "This was a kind of accident that we would never expect nor want in any part of the world.

"We are very lucky because we had a number of us, about 17 of us, in the bus. Soumya Sarkar was also there, and we were all heading to the mosque for prayers.

"Only two of the players [Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan, as well as spin-bowling coach Sunil Joshi] had stayed back in the hotel, and rest of the squad had gone there. We were very close to the mosque, and we could see from the bus. We must have been about 50 yards from the mosque.

"I would say we were really lucky. Had we reached even three or four minutes earlier, we probably would have been inside the mosque. This could then have been a massive incident.

"We are very thankful that we weren't caught in the crossfire, but what we saw was straight out of a movie scene. We could see bloodstained people staggering out of the mosque.

"Maybe in about eight-ten minutes, we were all inside the bus and were sitting with our heads bowed, just in case someone fires at us."

The third and final Test at Hagley Oval - which was due to start on Saturday - was called off following the attacks and the Bangladesh squad will fly home as soon as possible.

Mashud said the players and staff ran through Hagley Park to the ground after being allowed to get off the bus.

He added: "When we realised that the shooters could have inflicted more damage if they had found us inside the bus all at once, we took a collective decision to escape through the back gate.

"We ran or quickly walked out through that gate. Then we were in the dressing room, and the local liaison people explained to us how we could get out of there most safely to our hotel.

"It wasn't their fault, they tried their best according to whatever they are used to in their culture. Our players supported them a lot, with inputs on what was needed at that point of time.

"Our decision to get out was timely, because in videos we saw that people came out and kept shooting later."

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has backed the decision to call off the third Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh following the mass shootings in Christchurch.

Bangladesh players narrowly escaped one of the two terror attacks at mosques which resulted in multiple fatalities on Friday.

Tigers team manager Khaled Mashud said members of the team and staff were "about 50 yards" from one of the mosques where a massacre unfolded.

The Black Caps and the Tigers were due to start the third and final match of the series at Hagley Oval on Saturday, but it was agreed that the game will not go ahead and the tourists will fly home as soon as possible.

ICC chief executive David Richardson said: "Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by this horrendous incident in Christchurch.

"Both teams, staff and match officials are safe and the ICC fully supports the decision to cancel the Test match."

The two remaining fixtures between the New Zealand Development team and Australia's Under-19 women's team that were due to take place at Lincoln's Bert Sutcliffe Oval this weekend have also been cancelled.

"We are shocked and appalled as I am sure all New Zealanders are,” New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive David White said.

"We are offering support to all those within the teams affected by the situation and are continuing to take advice from authorities on the ground."

 

The third Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh was cancelled after mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.

Bangladesh players narrowly escaped the shootings at one of the mosques, where New Zealand Police confirmed there were multiple fatalities.

The Black Caps and Bangladesh were due to finish their three-Test series at Hagley Oval beginning on Saturday.

However, the Test was cancelled in a joint decision between the two nations.

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by the shocking situation in Christchurch," the Black Caps wrote in a statement on Twitter.

"A joint decision between NZC and the @BCBtigers has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test.

"Again, both teams and support staff groups are safe."

Bangladesh duo Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim confirmed on Twitter they had only narrowly escaped the shootings.

Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal confirmed the Test team escaped a shooting in Christchurch on Friday.

New Zealand Police confirmed they had responded to shots fired in central Christchurch at around 13:40 local time (00:40 GMT).

They later said there were "multiple fatalities" after shootings at at least two mosques.

Bangladesh are in Christchurch ahead of their third Test against New Zealand, scheduled to start on Saturday, and Tamim tweeted the team had been caught up in the tragedy.

"Entire team got saved from active shooters!!!" Tamim wrote on Twitter.

"Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack."

Batsman Mushfiqur Rahim also tweeted, writing: "Alhamdulillah Allah save [sic] us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque...we r [sic] extremely lucky...never want to see this [sic] things happen again....pray for us."

In a brief statement posted on Twitter, Bangladesh confirmed the team were safe.

"All members of the Bangladesh Cricket Team in Christchurch, New Zealand are safely back in the hotel following the incident of shooting in the city," they said.

"The Bangladesh Cricket Board [BCB] is in constant contact with the players and team management."

Captain Kane Williamson has been ruled out as New Zealand seek a series whitewash in the third Test against Bangladesh.

Black Caps coach Gary Stead confirmed a left pectoral injury will keep the 28-year-old sidelined as batsman Will Young was named for a Test debut at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

Tim Southee will become the Kiwis' 30th Test captain, while wicketkeeper BJ Watling has been passed fit after recovering from a hamstring injury.

New Zealand clinched innings victories in both of the first two Tests, with Williamson becoming the nation's first batsman to reach 20 centuries and also their fastest to get to 6,000 runs during the opener in Hamilton.

Despite Williamson showing improvements since the second Test in Wellington, Stead has no intentions of risking his captain.

"Kane is obviously a really important player for us and with the nature of the injury we couldn't be sure he wouldn't aggravate it," said Stead.

"He's improving every day and will continue his rehabilitation as planned.

"Will has been waiting in the wings for a while now and he'll get a great opportunity batting at number three in a settled line-up."

Page 1 of 48
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.