Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are reportedly considering legal options, rather than meekly accept the lengthy bans handed down by Cricket Australia.

Smith and Warner both copped 12-month bans, while Bancroft was given a smidge of leniency, just nine months.

They have been ordered to return to Australia, with an angry mob armed with torches and pitchforks expected to meet them at the airport.

The specific charge leveled against the trio is a violation of article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia’s code of conduct.

The article is a catchall provision intended to address types of misconduct of a very serious nature that is not covered in elsewhere in the Code of Conduct. It reads:

Where the facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any of the above offences, conduct at any time that either:(a) is contrary to the spirit of the game; (b) is unbecoming of a representative or official; (c) is or could be harmful to the interests of cricket; or (d) does or could bring the game of cricket into disrepute.

Smith, Warner and Bancroft have the right to appeal the findings of CA through an independent commissioner.

Given the unambiguous nature of the video evidence of Bancroft mucking about with the ball, it would seem that the best any of the three can hope for is a reduction of the length of the ban, or for one or two of the three to successfully deflect all the blame to one or more of the others.

“If the player disputes either the charge or sanctions, there is a hearing before a CA Commissioner,” Cricket Australia’s code of conduct process states.“The player may appeal the outcome of that hearing, and if so there is a hearing before an Appeals Commissioner (who is selected from the remaining CA Commissioners).”

Veteran Australiancricket commentator Jim Maxwell is of the opinion that Smith is resigned to his fate, but that Warner will mount a defense.

“This could get ugly in terms of legal process, litigation, and appeal,” Maxwell told ABC Radio.

You mean “uglier,” do you not, Mr. Maxwell?

Smith and Warner have already been told that they are not welcome in the IPL, which will cost them both serious financial loss.