3 cricketing legends slam Smith’s shocking airport treatment

Johannesburg - Three of the biggest names in the cricket fraternity have condemned the manner in which Australian captain Steve Smith was treated at OR Tambo International airport shortly before his departure to Australia.

The now former Australian captain flew home on Wednesday after he was banned for 12 months by Cricket Australia for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal which marred last weekend’s third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

On his way through the airport on Wednesday, Smith was seen being escorted by several policemen while onlookers and media did their utmost to get a reaction from the player.

Smith had to be protected by police as several fans shouted “cheat” and booed as he walked.

A trio of international stars were, however, shocked by the manner in which Smith was treated and aired their views on social media.

Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn called it "totally unnecessary", ex-Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne labelled it disgraceful, while former England batsman Kevin Pietersen agreed with Warne, saying Smith was not a criminal.

I don’t like this! @steve_smith49 isn’t a criminal!

A post shared by Kevin Pietersen (@kp24) on

Meanwhile, Australian vice-captain David Warner was also banned for a year after it was determined he was the mastermind behind the scandal, while opening batsman Cameron Bancroft - the man caught on television rubbing the ball with yellow sandpaper - was banned for nine months.

CONFIRMED: Warner the man behind #SandpaperGate

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