Legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne has lent support to Steve Smith in the seamlessly never ending ball-tampering saga saying that the ex-captain is a very “good guy”, who just made a “silly mistake”.
In March 2018, Cricket Australia banned Steve Smith, David Warner for one year and Cameron Bancroft for a period of 9 months, after the trio was found out guilty of the offence where they were deliberately trying to alter the condition of the ball during the Cape Town Test against South Africa using a piece of sandpaper.
The incident raised allegations and doubts about the moral and ethical values of the kind of culture that Australian Cricket seems to have developed over the years.
This is when the previous head coach Darren Lehmann resigned from his position despite his contract not expiring till the completion of Ashes 2019.
Reflecting back in time, Warne says he felt “embarrassed” & “disappointed” about the whole matter and while expressing that the punishments were perhaps a bit too harsh, stated, “I will say this about Steve Smith as captain of the side, Steve Smith is a good person. He made a silly mistake, an error in judgment. I think in this country we’re too quick to hang people and just nail them."
“We cry out for characters but then we cut people off so quickly. And Steve Smith, to me, is a good guy," Warne stressed, "He’s a wonderful captain, he’s a great player. He just made a silly mistake and I don’t think the punishment fitted the crime," and further emphasized, “A 12-month ban for that? It equated to about an $8-10 million fine. I thought they were very, very, very hard done by and it was a very harsh penalty.”
Warne also gave his views on the systematic cultural review that has been going on ever since and said, “All of us as Australian were disappointed, we were embarrassed and I think the wider cricket community thought: ‘Australians don’t do that. That’s not the way Australians play their sport. They play it hard, they play it tough. They’re uncompromising but they’re fair. Always been fair’,”
“And we have been in all our sports. So it’s really disappointing to see that. They have to earn the respect back of the cricketing public and the Australian public. And all the cricket community," he added, “We hated it and we didn’t like it and they have to earn our respect back,” and signed off.
(Inputs from Fox Sports)