Biff: Steve Smith will come back mentally strong

Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith expects disgraced former Australian captain Steve Smith to make a strong return to cricket.

Steve Smith was stripped of the Australian captaincy in March after being involved in a ball-tampering scandal during a Test against South Africa at Newlands.

He was banned from international and domestic cricket for a year.

Former Australian vice-captain David Warner was also banned for the same period for his role in the scandal, while batsman Cameron Bancroft copped a nine-month ban.

The former Australian skipper has also been barred from holding leadership positions in the Australian national side for two years. He will, however, return to cricket at next month’s Global T20 Canada league.

Graeme Smith told Reuters that he expected his namesake to overcome the setback.

“He’s still a young man, we have all made mistakes. I expect him to bounce back and come back really strong. Mentally he would have grown a lot from this situation,” he said.

The ball tampering scandal broke after Bancroft was caught on live TV applying sandpaper to the ball, in an attempt to extract more reverse swing.

“Biff” said he understood the pressure to gain reverse swing with an old ball and said he was not completely opposed to a slight relaxation of the rules laid down by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“Reverse swing has become such a key. What happened in Cape Town was pretty shocking. I’ve never seen an actual foreign object being brought out on the field. It was madness,” he said.

“I think the ICC needs to review that. Whether applying sweetened saliva or using a fingernail... I don’t have a problem with that actually, but I wouldn’t allow foreign objects on the field.”

READ: AB is 'irreplaceable', says Graeme Smith

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