Year-long bans for Steve Smith and David Warner are a little harsh. I feel a six-month suspension, hefty fine and being stripped of their captaincy roles would have been sufficient punishment.
Thats just my view on the sanctions and does not in any way suggest that I believe taking a foreign object onto the field with the express intention of doctoring the ball, having discussed doing so in a leadership meeting, is acceptable.
There are grey areas to ball-tampering and it goes on – we all know it does. There have always been certain individuals who are better at getting reverse swing than others and have their own way of doing that.
But the nature of the premeditated actions we witnessed by members of the Australia side during the third Test against South Africa at the weekend were just plain cheating.
I also find it hard to believe that only three people – Smith, Warner and rookie Test batsman Cameron Bancroft – were aware of what was happening.
Cricket Australia found that the trio concerned strode out on their own, however, so maybe they did.
I also dont believe it is too outlandish to suggest that Australia deployed similar tactics during the winters Ashes series as their bowlers certainly managed to get the ball reversing quite a bit.
I dont see why it wouldnt have happened against England or why Australia would have suddenly changed plans, which had worked so well previously, for their tour of South Africa.
The whole affair is just unfortunate for the game and its sad that at a time when Test cricket is struggling, two of its star performers – No1-ranked batsman in the world Smith and Warner – will not be playing for 12 months.
But it is good that a precedent has been set and players who may be tempted to cheat going forward know what punishment awaits if they are caught.
Smith and Warner are class players and Im sure well see them in an Australia shirt again. Smith is only 28 years old and at 31, Warner is still young for a batsman.
Initially, though, they are going to have to deal with things mentally. Their personal lives will be severely affected and they arent going to be able to walk down the street for a long time without getting abuse.
But the Aussie way tends to be to forgive, so long as individuals who make mistakes come back and show they have become better people. Shane Warne, for instance, became a hero again following his drugs ban in 2003.