Melbourne: Former pacer Mitchell Johnson on Sunday said the ball-tampering ban on the Australian trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft should not be reduced as the players have not challenged the board's sentence.
Australian cricket is enduring one of its worst phases and a run of losses in recent times prompted calls to bring back the two star players — Smith and Warner — before the contests against India.
While then skipper Smith and Warner were handed one-year ban, Cameron Bancroft, the third player involved in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, was handed a nine-month suspension following the infamous 'Sandpaper Gate' scandal.
Johnson, however, has spoken against it.
"I thought 3 players were banned. So does that mean Cameron Bancroft's ban will be reduced to the same amount as Smith & Warner if it goes ahead? They all accepted their bans & didn't contest it so I think the bans should stay," Johnson tweeted.
The former Australia pacer was responding to a cricket journalist's tweet, where he wrote about the possibility of ban reduction being "seriously discussed".
Australia are slated to play India in four Tests, three One-day Internationals and as many T20 Internationals.
Johnson is not the first Australian cricketer to say that the bans should remain. Former skipper Ian Chappel had earlier mentioned that the bans should not be reduced.
"Do I think that some of the bans should have been reduced? No, I don't think they should, because of the things that came out of the long staff review was that they felt the attitude was to win and don't count the cost. If they would have brought Smith, Warner, and Bancroft back into the team against India, then they would say 'here we go again', don't count the cost let's just make sure we win," Chappell had told ESPNcricinfo.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Jhye Richardson and Kane Richardson also withdrew, leaving coach Justin Langer without many of his best players four months before the Twenty20 World Cup.
Warner and Stoinis had fetched a deal worth 100,000 pounds and 80,000 pounds respectively with the Southern Brave for The Hundred.
It has been reported that at least seven top players, including Steve Smith and Pat Cummins, may withdraw from West Indies and Bangladesh tours.