July 5, 2018 / 4:59 AM / in 4 months

Australia dismisses reports of relaxed Warner, Smith bans

(Reuters) - Cricket Australia (CA) has denied reports that former Australia captain Steve Smith and batsman David Warner’s suspensions had been relaxed to allow them to participate in domestic first-class cricket ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - South Africa vs Australia - First Test Match - Kingsmead Stadium, Durban, South Africa - March 5, 2018. Australia's David Warner and Steve Smith leave the pitch after beating South Africa. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

CA handed 12-month bans to Smith and Warner while batsman Cameron Bancroft received a nine-month suspension after the trio were found guilty of ball-tampering during the third test against South Africa in March.

“At no stage have we, or are we considering lessening the current sanctions in place for respective players in relation to the incident in South Africa,” a spokesperson from CA told cricket.com.au.

“The CA Code of Conduct does not allow for reversal or lessening of sanctions once players have fully accepted the charges.

“The current articles published are purely speculative.”

Media reports suggested that Smith and Warner could be allowed to play in the Sheffield Shield for the 2018-19 season, but CA’s bans do not end until late March, with the final scheduled from March 28-April 1.

Bancroft should be available for selection for Western Australia for the final four rounds of matches, which start in late February.

The ban does not prevent the trio from playing domestic cricket overseas and Warner and Smith are currently playing in the inaugural Global T20 Canada league.

Reporting By Arnab Paul in Bengaluru

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