Di Venuto: Smith, Warner and Bancroft have been treated like criminals

Michael Di Venuto Steve Smith David Warner Cameron Bancroft treated like criminals ball tampering scandal Australia cricket

Michael Di Venuto: “they have suffered enough and accepted the consequences and copped it on the chin”

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Former Australia batting coach Michael Di Venuto believes that former captain Steve Smith, ex-vice captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft have been treated like criminals.

The trio were were all banned for their involvement in a ball tampering incident that shocked the cricketing community.

It is understood that Warner played a leading role in the scandal, which occurred on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, as he told Bancroft to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper.

As a result, Warner and Smith were banned for 12 months by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft was suspended for nine months. Smith also won’t be allowed to captain Australia for two years, while Warner won’t be considered for leadership roles in the future.

Di Venuto added that it was tough to watch the emotional apologies Smith, Warner and Bancroft gave after they were banned.

“The events (in South Africa) weren’t good for Australian cricket and [were] disappointing and sad,” he was quoted as saying by foxsports.com.au. “I am disappointed for all three. One, because what they did, and two because of what went on afterwards and what they’ve been through.

“They are quality people who I have spent a lot of time with. It was tough to watch and see them treated as criminals for something that goes on in sport.

“What they tried to do was pretty dumb. Pulling sandpaper out of your pocket with 40 cameras on you floating around and thinking it’s not going to get picked up is not smart.

“But they have suffered enough and accepted the consequences and copped it on the chin and fair play to them. Now just leave them alone and let them get on with their lives.”

The ball tampering incident has raised questions about Australia’s team culture, but during his three years with the national team, Di Venuto never noticed this particular issue.

“I didn’t think there was any cultural issues during my involvement with the Australian team,” he said. “We had some good success with Ashes wins and the World Cup. I loved being a coach under Darren Lehmann and I love the culture he created. And the players loved the environment as well.

“Obviously with the events that have happened recently, all of a sudden people are blaming culture and things like that.”

Di Venuto added that nothing was said about the team’s culture following their 4-0 Ashes triumph over England.

“Take it back a couple of months when we won the Ashes. There wasn’t too many people complaining about anything then,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what comes out of this culture stuff that is going on in Australian cricket. Hopefully they start from the top and work their way down to the team.”

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