Michael Clarke has urged the fuming Australian cricket fans to forgive the current national captain Steve Smith for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal during the just concluded Newlands Test against South Africa.
Clarke, who passed the captaincy baton to Smith following his sudden retirement from cricket in 2015, stated that Australians will have to move on from this crisis and should work on restoring the sport's battered reputation.
"I do feel for Steve Smith. 100 percent he has made a major mistake and he and a lot of other people I think are going to have to suffer the consequences," Clarke told Channel Seven.
"That's fair enough. But I think it's important that we do over time forgive as well," he added.
In a shocking press conference after the third day's play in Cape Town, Smith had admitted that the entire ball-tampering saga was a deliberate plan from the “leadership group” of the side. Moreover, he had apologised and tried to convince everyone that this was the first time it had happened under his captaincy.
Considering the way last few days had panned out, Clarke feels changes needed to be made for the good of the game.
"When I woke up this morning a couple of things really stood in my mind -- this can never happen again," the 2015 World Cup winning Aussie skipper said.
"I think that has to be Cricket Australia's focus, this can never, ever happen again in this great game of cricket. We have so much work to do to get cricket back to where it belongs," he elaborated.
Soon after being enlightened with the state of affairs, Clarke had termed the ball-tampering episode as "a bad dream".
“WHAT THE ........ HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream,” Michael Clarke had written in his official Twitter page on Saturday.
WHAT THE ........ HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream.— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 24, 2018
It is worth mentioning here that Smith was handed a one-match suspension and fined 100% of his match fee by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday, while the rookie Australia opener Cameron Bancroft has been penalized 75 percent of his match fee and awarded three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct.