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Players want answers from Australia board over Smith ban

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By Reuters

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Australian Cricketers’ Association is seeking a meeting with Cricket Australia regarding the anti-corruption ban given to Emily Smith as pressure grows on the governing body to lighten the Tasmania wicketkeeper’s sanction.

Last week, Hobart Hurricanes’ Smith was banned for a year, with nine months suspended, for posting the Women’s Big Bash League team’s line-up on Instagram about an hour before its scheduled release.

The 24-year-old accepted the sanction, which rules her out of the remainder of the Women’s T20 Big Bash League and the national cricket league, but said the posting was intended to be a joke about her lowly position in the batting order.

A number of former players and pundits have condemned the sanction as harsh, and the players’ union held an extraordinary board meeting on Tuesday to discuss the case.

“The ACA Board has resolved to seek a meeting with Cricket Australia Board as soon as practicable to discuss and better understand both the sanction and the process,” an ACA spokesman said.

Smith posted the Hurricanes’ team line-up for their Nov. 2 match in the WBBL against Sydney Thunder at Burnie in Tasmania state.

The match was later abandoned due to bad weather.

CA said its anti-corruption code prohibits sharing of insider information which could be used for betting.

The governing body acknowledged that Smith had no intention to breach the code.

Australian spin bowling great Shane Warne said the sanction was too harsh for a “naive mistake”, while former England captain Michael Vaughan said she had been “hung out to dry”.

An anti-gambling campaigner said Smith’s ban under the anti-corruption code was hard to reconcile given CA’s sponsorship arrangements with betting firms.

“What Emily Smith did in simply posting a team make-up has zero consequences on the game of cricket itself, and was clearly not corrupt,” Tim Costello, advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Thursday.

“If (CA) was serious about distancing itself from betting scandals, it would not take a single dollar from the gambling industry.”

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)