From the outcry over the ball-tampering incident in the third Test between South Africa and Australia, the mood has well and truly shifted to one of compassion and sympathy over the quantum of punishment. Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were all at the forefront of one of the biggest controversies in the sport in the decade. While ICC handed a one Test ban to Smith and fined Bancroft, Cricket Australia’s punishment left many inside the sport surprised. Smith and Warner have been banned for 12 months and Bancroft for nine months with Warner barred from holding any leadership role with the national side in the future.
All three players were sent back home and will miss the fourth Test against South Africa. Smith and Bancroft addressed the media on their arrival and made an emotional apology. Smith, former skipper now, was left in tears in the short address to the media in Sydney. Warner expressed himself with a social media post and few words on arirval back home.
REACTIONS | Twitterverse reacts to Steve Smith breaking down
India spinner R Ashwin had words of sympathy and support for Smith and Warner while hoping the player union offers them support during this difficult time. He said in multiple tweets, “The world simply wants to see you cry, once you have cried they will feel satisfied and live happily ever after. If only Empathy was not just a Word and people still had it. God give Steve Smith and Bancroft all the strength to come out of this. And David Warner will also need the strength to fight it out, hopefully their players union will provide them with all the support.”
Later in the day, a tearful Australia coach Darren Lehmann announced that he has quit from his position with the fourth Test to be his last assignment for the Baggy Greens.