Former Australia coach Buchanan feels sympathy for Smith
While insisting Steve Smith should be punished for ball tampering, former Australia coach John Buchanan said he feels a degree of sympathy for the axed captain.
Smith, along with vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, have been sent home by Cricket Australia for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal which has engulfed the team.
One of the undisputed stars of Australian and world cricket prior to the third Test against South Africa, Smith faces an uncertain future after revealing a plot to deliberately alter the condition of the ball in Cape Town, where Bancroft was caught on camera using yellow tape on day three on Saturday.
Smith – with his captaincy days seemingly over as Tim Paine prepares to lead Australia in the fourth Test in Johannesburg, starting Friday – has received widespread criticism, and while the backlash is warranted, World Cup-winning coach Buchanan is somewhat sympathetic towards the 28-year-old.
"Firstly, he and Warner instigated cheating and the book should be thrown at them for that," Buchanan said in an interview with Omnisport.
"On the other side, Smith is a young man and a posterboy of Australian cricket. Passionate about cricket and the baggy green.
"He was a developing leader. He was making generally good decisions on and off the field. Overall, he was reasonably well respected by team-mates and people outside of the Australian cricket team.
"In that respect, there's sympathy because in a moment of unfathomable decision-making, he's basically taken everything he loved and built up over time and cast huge shadows over it. He will have time to reflect on that.
"In the end, he will have to reflect upon what he's done and how he will make amends. Hopefully he can arrive at those decisions and I would expect, given his passion for the game, we will see him back playing again but definitely not in a leadership role."