Former Australian Captain Mark Taylor has come out and said that he expects the next few months to be really tough for the Cricket Australia banned trio of Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft, as they continue to serve the punishment enforced by their home board for being found guilty of deliberately altering the condition of the ball in the Cape Town Test in South Africa this year.
Taylor has said that he believes "next few months are going to be extremely tough" for these players but according to him the ban of 12 months for the former captain and vice-captain, Steve Smith and David Warner, was "extremely harsh but extremely fair".
Mark Taylor was recently quoted saying to Channel Nine as, "The next nine months are going to be extremely tough for him, for David Warner and for Cameron Bancroft, because they're going to have to watch more of the Australian side right through the summer, here in Australia, That will really hurt. It hurt Steve Smith watching them play in England and lose, when they [the team] are playing in Australia it's going to be really tough for them [the banned trio] when they're not playing"
"But in the long run, I think it's good for all three of them. He made a bad mistake, as did the other two guys, three or four months ago, and he's paying a very high price for it. I think the penalty they've received is very harsh but very fair, and I think we've now set a tone for world cricket that we're not going to allow this sort of cheating to go on,"
Tellingly the wise man said, "Sometimes you've almost got to hit rock bottom to get better,"
Smith and Warner are currently playing the Global T20 Canada League in Toronto after being interestingly granted NOCs, while Bancroft is in Darwin to play Northern Territory Strike League, a club competition. The trio is trying the bridge the gap of their harsh ban by getting whatever cricket they can get under the belt before a return to the International scene.
Mark Taylor has the advantage of the hindsight but he says the whole matter could've been dealt better if, "The other thing they could have done, Darren Lehmann, Pat Howard and the selectors could have said 'we'll just leave those three guys out of that next Test match, just drop them, leave them out because we think they're mentally not right'. How would that have gone down? You'd be sitting here saying 'what are they doing, that's our captain, vice-captain and opening batsman'."
Taylor also believes that a gap from international cricket after an energy-sapping Ashes at home could've helped Steve Smith to be in a much better mind space in South Africa than the one he played with. Even Smith had pointed out that he perhaps needed a break after a grueling five-match series against the arch-rivals England.
Taylor said, "I think we've had trouble with that in recent times, we saw that with Ricky Ponting towards the end of his playing days, when the captain is that good a player. I was lucky, I wasn't that good, but they feel at times, Steve was definitely the case, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting, all a bit the same, feel they have to make the bulk of the runs as well"
"They've obviously got to keep a spot in the side, but really you're just one of 11 batsmen in the side. I think that position of Australian captain is so closely scrutinised if you also think you have to be the best player and the best leader it's a big load to carry,"
(Inputs from Cricbuzz)