MELBOURNE • The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) yesterday called for bans on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for ball tampering to be lifted, saying Cricket Australia (CA) should share responsibility for the scandal following a damning report on its conduct.
The independent review released on Monday found that an "arrogant" and "controlling" culture within CA contributed to players cheating in the pursuit of victory.
At the same time, CA chairman David Peever faced growing pressure to quit from the likes of former prime minister Kevin Rudd and former International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed.
Then captain Smith and his deputy Warner are seven months into one-year bans while batsman Cameron Bancroft will be eligible to return in December after being caught using sandpaper to alter the ball in a Test match against South Africa in Cape Town in March.
ACA head Greg Dyer told a news conference that the trio had been punished enough.
He said: "The players have already lost time in the game, lost chances to play for Australia, endured public humiliation and faced massive financial penalties.
"These contrite men have suffered enough. Let them play."
Months of their bans the three Australian cricketers have served.
He also called for the "urgent" implementation of all 42 recommendations in the 145-page report, which included complaints of a bullying culture in elite men's cricket from those involved in the sport .
Peever has so far avoided joining an exodus of senior figures, with chief executive James Sutherland, coach Darren Lehmann and team performance boss Pat Howard all resigning in the wake of the scandal.
The former Rio Tinto mining executive was reappointed for a second term only last week and said that he would not step aside.
He added: "(It) was never about wanting to dwell on negatives... we are moving forward from here."
But former Australian bowler Geoff Lawson had a different opinion.
"We need a serious cricketing figurehead, not a corporate (one)," he said. "The business of cricket has overwhelmed the playing of cricket."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE