Sydney: Spin legend Shane Warne feels that the punishment handed out to the captain Steve Smith and his two teammates after their involvement in ball tampering was a bit too harsh.
Cricket Australia on Wednesday banned Smith and David Warner for one-year while Cameron Bancroft was given a nine-month ban after the board completed its investigation into the ball-tampering scandal.
"I am still trying to wrestle with what I think the punishment should be. They have to be harsh, but if they are rubbed out for a year, the punishment does not fit the crime," Warne wrote in his column for The Herald Sun.
Warne said that the players' embarrassing act called for a hefty fine but not a 12-month ban.
"Let's take the emotion out of it. We are all feeling angry and embarrassed. But you need a level head and you shouldn't destroy someone unless they deserve to be destroyed. Their actions were indefendable, and they need to be severely punished. But I don't think a one-year ban is the answer.
"My punishment would have been to miss the fourth Test match, a huge fine, and be sacked as captain and vice-captain. But they should still be allowed to play," he felt.
The punishment is way too harsh but the crime committed on the field cannot be condoned," said the legendary leg-spinner.
"To hear that the Australian cricket team had been involved in pre-mediated cheating is something that is embarrassing. There is no way you can condone it. We are all so hurt and angry and maybe we weren't so sure how to react. We'd just never seen it before.
"But the jump to hysteria is something that has elevated the offence beyond what they actually did, and maybe we're at a point where the punishment just might not fit the crime," Warne added.
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Steve Smith is gearing up for the Indian Premier League, which is scheduled to be held in the UAE from 19 September to 8 November. He is the captain of the IPL franchise, Rajasthan Royals.
David Warner says he may have to reconsider his future as an international cricketer owing to the global COVID-19 restrictions that will require him to travel without family to fulfil stringent quarantine conditions.
Australia had retained the Ashes in England last year with a 2-2 draw but the defeat in the last Test at The Oval still rankles Smith, who was the star of the series with 774 runs at an average of 110.57 from four Tests.