'Dumbest thing ever': Players' union to weigh in on WBBL ban

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

Players union chiefs are to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to explore potential ways they could support suspended Hobart Hurricanes cricketer Emily Smith, according to reports.

The 24-year-old last week copped a one-year ban, with nine months suspended, for posting a team line-up on her Instagram account, an hour before it was officially released by her team for the WBBL clash with Sydney Thunder.

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The wicketkeeper's prank, supposedly intended to lightheartedly highlight her position well down the batting order in a match which was later washed out, was still seen by Cricket Australia as breaking their strict Anti-Corruption Code.

As a result, Smith has been denied playing in any form of cricket for at least three months, meaning she'll sit out her team's remaining WBBL and WNCL fixtures this season, a penalty the Australian Players Association say is too excessive.

The APA have suggested Smith should have received a fully suspended sentence instead, but have also refuted claims they urged the player to accept the suspension and move on.

Emily Smith of the Hurricanes in action during the Women's Big Bash League match between the Sydney Sixers and the Hobart Hurricanes at Invermay Park on November 13, 2019 in Launceston, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

The union, keen to illustrate that corruption was not a factor in Smith's actions, has now sent a document to its members countrywide featuring the options they will present to board members in Tuesday's emergency meeting with the view of mitigating her punishment, Newscorp Australia reports.

One of these measures could be to broker a possible meeting with CA officials to and take up Smith's cause directly.

Commentators slam ‘stupid’ punishment

Several high-profile sporting commentators rubbished Smith’s suspension when it was discussed on Channel 9 program Sport Sunday.

Columnist Neil Breen described the nine-month suspended sanction as ‘the dumbest thing ever’, arguing the punishment didn’t come close to fitting the crime.

“Absolutely ridiculous. She gets three months out of cricket, nine months suspended,” Breen said.

“She’s only on $26,000 a year, because she puts the team on Instagram making a joke about where she’s batting in the batting order because some people in illegal gambling in Asia might make some money out of it.

“She put the team on Instagram and got banned. It’s the dumbest thing ever.

“When Smith, Bancroft and Warner got banned, they had to play club cricket as part of their rehab. She’s not allowed to play club cricket.”

Fellow panellist Liz Ellis also took issue with Smith’s sanction.

“It’s the stupidest, stupidest thing,” Ellis said.

“I get you’ve got to have integrity and have integrity rules around your sport, but for the WBBL give her a warning and let it go. It’s not like it’s sandpaper.”