Former Australia international, Shane Watson, on Tuesday, said punishments dished out to Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal was ‘extreme’.
In the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March this year, Bancroft was caught on cameras trying to tamper the ball with sandpaper. Once the broadcasters repeatedly aired the footage and even displayed it on the giant screen, Bancroft was seen slipping the yellow tape inside his trousers.
Later, Bancroft along with skipper Steven Smith admitted the team had pre-planned the whole thing.
The repercussions soon followed. The ICC banned Smith for one Test match and handed three demerit points to Bancroft.
Cricket Australia (CA) treated the duo along with David Warner even more harshly. The board handed lengthy bans to the trio.
Smith and Bancroft admitted to the ball-tampering allegations (Credits: Getty)
Along with Smith, Warner is serving a year-long ban. On the other hand, Bancroft is serving nine months for his part in the Cape Town scandal in March.
The bans issued by Cricket Australia preclude the trio from playing at international and state levels, along with the domestic ‘Big Bash’ Twenty20 tournament.
Many feel the lengthy bans were harsh on the trio and Watson also echoed the same sentiments.
“It is an extreme penalty for what they did compared to the bans that have happened and the reprimands that have happened in the past,” Watson said in Dubai.
“They’ve paid a heavy price, there is no question, and when they come back they will be doing everything they can to try and repay people for the mistakes they made,” he added.
Following the scandal, Darren Lehmann had stepped down as Australia’s head coach. His former teammate Justin Langer replaced him. Watson backed Langer for the job and called him the “right man” to rebuild the team.
“He is certainly going to make sure the Aussies are on the right track,” said Watson.