Australian national selector Mark Waugh has clarified that he wouldn’t think twice before picking the three players banned in the wake of the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal once their ban gets over, but added in the same breath that these are “tough times” for Australia’s Test team.
During an interview with Sky Sports Radio, Waugh said, “My personal contact with these guys is that they’re all good people and very fine players. They’ve made a mistake, everyone makes mistakes. Not one person that I’ve ever met hasn’t made a mistake. It’s so unfortunate they’ve made this mistake and they’re going to pay such a heavy penalty. But we should all look at the facts. You’ve got to let them back into the fold, you’ve got to forgive them and hope they get back to where they were.”
After the ball tampering incident in the third Test in South Africa, Australian skipper Steven Smith and his deputy David Warner, both key batsmen for the team, were banned from playing for Australia for a year while opener Cameron Bancroft was handed a nine-month punishment for their roles in the ball-tampering episode.
Considering the fact that there are some pending potential appeals which could be heard next week and if they came against the trio, then chances of the bans being overturned are highly unlikely. Mark s an ODI and T20I selector and is the part of the panel which is headed by the chairman Trevor Hohns, Greg Chappell, and outgoing coach Darren Lehmann.
Australia’s next Test assignment is against Pakistan in UAE, likely in October, before they host India and Sri Lanka next summer. Waugh believes replacing the banned players is a daunting task for the selector. He said, “We’ve still got a lot of fine players in Australia but to lose these three guys, particularly Smith and Warner, it’s going to leave a huge hole in your squad.”
Waugh concluded by expressing how difficult it will be for the selectors to find the replacements of the trio, he said, “Cameron Bancroft is a good young man on his way up, it’s going to leave a spot there too which is going to be hard to fill. You’d be naive to think it will be easy, it’s going to be tough. There are going to be tough times ahead. But at the same time, it gives other guys the chance to step up. India is going to be very tough in Australia and of course, there’s a World Cup next year. It’s going to be tough but before too long we’ll be back in the winners’ circle.”