Smith, Warner and Bancroft ‘got away with murder’: Curtly Ambrose
Curtley Ambrose feels the bans on the Australian trio were too lenient.

The tainted Australian trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft “got away with murder” according to West Indies icon Curtly Ambrose, who believes they should have been banned for two years for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal.

Former Australia skipper Smith and former vice-captain Warner were handed one-year bans from Cricket Australia and the Test opener Bancroft got a nine-month sanction, and the three will never hold leadership roles in any sense under the umbrella of Australian cricket.

All three are eligible for international selection, but Ambrose believes that the bans were not harsh enough.

“You don’t want to deprive professionals of doing something that they love,” Ambrose said on Australian sports show Bill and Boz. “But when you break the law like that, you should be punished and I honestly thought that they got away with murder. I think a year was a little bit [lenient]. I would have said two years – just to send a message, because it was stupid, really. (READ: Graeme Smith fears for David Warner’s ego before his return)

“However, I believe that they will never do it again. They’ve served their one-year term and I just hope that all of Australia support them and I hope that they go to the World Cup, because they’ll make the team stronger.” (READ: Steve Smith-David Warner bans end: What has happened in 12 months)

Ambrose, who in 98 Test matches claimed 405 wickets, and who has worked with West Indies as part of their coaching staff since retirement, said he could not comprehend by the Australians would seek to tamper with the ball during a Test match. (READ: Ashes return on Bancroft’s mind as prepares to lead Durham)

“I was totally surprised, because having played against great Australian teams before, nothing like that ever happened,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it, to be honest, especially in today’s world. I mean, 30 years ago, maybe you would have gotten away with it, even though it’s wrong. But with all the cameras around now, everything you do [is recorded].

“So I couldn’t understand why they even attempted it. And it was really sad. It was really a dark day for Australian cricket, because I don’t think Australians, from what I know, they’re not like that. They’re very competitive, play hard cricket without breaking the rules. So I was quite surprised when that happened.”

Bancroft is in England with county side Durham while Smith and Warner are playing in the IPL.