Steve Smith could be counting the cost of Australia’s ball-tampering scandal.
Steve Smith could be counting the cost of Australia’s ball-tampering scandal.

Erased history, lost millions for Smith

STEVE Smith has gone to ground in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, as he awaits the findings of a Cricket Australia investigation and what punishment he is likely to face.

But he will be starting to become aware of the enormous financial cost this scandal is going to have on him.

Sanitarium, on Tuesday, became the first company to distance itself  from the embattled captain and would seem  set to become the first of Smith's sponsors to jump ship - as the reality of the cost of the ball-tampering scandal begins to take shape.

The Weet-Bix owner removed all reference to the under-fire batsman from its website on Tuesday - beginning the process of erasing the star, who it once lauded as one of their Weet-Bix kids, from its records.

A Tweet from December 2015 welcoming Smith, joining Socceroos star Tim Cahill, cricketer Brett Lee and surfing sensation Steph Gilmore, was also deleted.

Is Steve Smith still a Weet-Bix kid?
Is Steve Smith still a Weet-Bix kid?

Cahill's response to the Tweet remains up on the website, with the original clearly wiped from Weet-Bix's account.

 

 

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Qantas - Cricket Australia's major sponsor - has reportedly urged the governing body to make "a statement to the rest of the world" in its punishment, during a function at the Australian High Commission in London.

Alan Joyce called on CA to "do the right thing",  but insisted his company was not yet considering pulling its sponsorship.

CA is understood to be weighing up a one-year ban for Smith, who has already been stripped of the captaincy and suspended for the fourth and final Test of the bitter series with South Africa.

A one-year ban would have enormous financial ramifications for Smith, who stands to lose roughly $4.5 million from on-field earnings alone.

As the Australian captain Smith, is on the highest retainer for any cricketer in the country, with a base salary of a reported $2 million per year as he pockets $14,000 per Test match.

A recent analysis of wages of international cricket stars found Smith to be the highest paid by his own nation - ahead of even Indian skipper Virat Kohli.

Australia's cricketers fought for a financial boost last year when they threatened to boycott the Ashes over a long pay dispute with Cricket Australia, but Smith's earning potential could be wiped out should be rubbed out for the next 12 months.

Smith - along with Warner - is also Australia's most highly paid player in the lucrative Indian Premier League,  on monster deals worth $2.4 million for the tournament.

Smith has already been dumped as captain of the Rajasthan Royals and while that in itself won't hinder his earning power this year, a year-long ban would.

Participants in the IPL are required to obtain no-objection certificates  from their national boards in order to compete.

Cricket Australia, typically, has no qualms handing these out to players, but would be far less likely to comply with Smith's request to play if he was given a year-long ban.

That would be a huge hit to the back pocket, even before Smith's personal sponsorship deals become affected.

He also holds a lucrative deal with shoe company New Balance, as well as the Commonwealth Bank.

A 12-month ban would be unprecedented, however.

While this has been described as the worst example of ball tampering seen in international cricket, with former Test opener Ed Cowan putting it in the "extreme" category, a ban of one year would blow any previous punishment out of the water.

The first major case arrived in 1994 when England captain Michael Atherton was caught on camera during a Test at Lord's against South Africa taking dirt from his pocket to rub on the side of the ball.

Steve Smith has huge earning potential in the Indian Premier League.
Steve Smith has huge earning potential in the Indian Premier League.

Atherton later lied to the match referee about the purpose of the dirt, claiming it was to dry his hands, and was fined £2000 ($A3600) but served no ban.

Seven years later, India's Sachin Tendulkar was found guilty of scuffing the seam of the ball on a tour of South Africa. India challenged the ruling in controversial circumstances and the case ultimately proved a career-killer for match referee Mike Denness, who had charged Tendulkar.

Rahul Dravid was fined half of his match fee in 2004 when he was caught rubbing a lozenge onto the shiny side of a ball during a one-day match in Brisbane.

England's Marcus Trescothick famously admitted to ball tampering during the drought-breaking 2005 Ashes victory over Australia, but avoided any sanction as the admission came three years after the event.

While Bancroft's use of makeshift sandpaper was a graphic example of ball tampering,  so was Shahid Afridi in 2010  when he used his teeth to bite the seam during a match against Australia.

He was suspended for two Twenty20 matches in the heaviest penalty to date.

South African captain Faf du Plessis has been found guilty of tampering on two occasions - firstly in 2013 when he was fined 50 per cent of his match fee for scuffing the ball on the zip of his trousers.

He was fined 100 per cent of his match fee three years later when caught applying saliva from a mint when playing in Australia.

South African quick Vernon Philander has also been found guilty of tampering. He was fined 75 per cent of his match fee for "scratching the ball with his fingers and thumb" in a Test against Sri Lanka in 2014.

The penalties looming for Smith and Warner are unprecedented in cricket history - and the financial cost could take that punishment to the next level.



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