Australian Test great and National Selector –Mark Waugh, on Tuesday, said that he would not hesitate in picking the suspended trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for the Baggy Green again once they complete their suspensions for their involvements in the ball-tampering scandal.
Cricket Australia (CA) banned Smith and Warner were banned for 12 months while Bancroft was handed a nine-month ban for their attempt to alter the condition of the ball in Cape Town Test.
It is learned that Warner was the mastermind behind this controversial conduct that rocked the Australian cricket, while Bancroft was the executor of the plan under Smith.
However, Waugh admitted it was a genuine mistake made by the players, but they are all good people, hoping that “they bounce back to their best form when the penalties are finished”.
Waugh told Sky Sports Radio, “I would (pick them), for sure. My personal contact with these three guys is they’re all good people. They’re very fine players. They’ve made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. This is a major one. We all hope they bounce back to their best form when the penalties are finished. We should all look at the facts and you’ve got to let them back into the fold again. You’ve got to forgive them.”
The Aussie legend also admitted that it will be a major challenge for the national selectors to replace the banned players, especially Smith and Warner –who were the backbone of the Australian cricket.
He noted, “We've still got a lot of fine players in Australia but to lose these three guys, particularly Smith and Warner, it's going to leave a huge hole in your squad. Cameron Bancroft is a good young man on his way up, it's going to leave a spot there too which is going to be hard to fill. There are going to be tough times ahead. It's going to be tough but before too long we'll be back in the winners' circle.”
Waugh, who regularly tours with the national side, rejected the notion that the ball-tampering scandal was the result of a poor culture. He added, “I might be missing something, but I don’t see this team as any different as any other team from previous eras. Of course, there’s the odd individual player who’ll push the boundaries. That’s always happened and is going to happen. But to then say because of that there’s a whole toxic culture of Australian cricket, I’m just not seeing that.”
The 52-year-old further added on the same, “I think that people are drawing a long bow there, saying the whole cricket culture’s toxic. Most of this team; they’re so quiet on the field. You run through the players, there are not too many guys there up and in your face.”
He also believes that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should “ramp up their penalties” to prevent such incidents from taking place.
Waugh signed off by saying, “If there were stiffer penalties in place, it wouldn’t have happened. If you know you’re going to get six months or 10 games for ball tampering, do you think it’s going to go on? Or if you’re going to sledge someone in an aggressive way, if you’re going to get 10 games, do you think they’ll be much of it? I think the ICC out of this will certainly ramp up their penalties and that’ll help the game as well.”