Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland says Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner deserve their chance to prove themselves after the ball-tampering scandal.
The players received hefty bans from Cricket Australia due to their involvement in the ball-tampering saga in the third Test against the Proteas at Newlands.
Bancroft received a nine-month ban while Australia captain Smith and vice-captain Warner both received one-year bans.
Many believed the bans to be harsh but in an interview with Gerard Whateley on Melbourne radio station SEN, Sutherland showed sympathy towards the players.
‘Absolutely, I think everyone deserves their chance and their own personal redemption story is very much in their own hands now.
‘Each of them have to go about that during the time they’re out of the game and prove that they’re worthy and prove to the Australian selectors that they should want them back. They deserve that opportunity.
‘I feel for all three players. I feel forgiveness for all of them. I feel sympathy for them and I want to see them all come back and play their best cricket. I believe they all can.
Sutherland explained the reasoning behind the severity of the bans.
‘Part of the design within the sanctions was to allow them to stay connected with the game. I also see part of our role is to support them with their state associations and their clubs, to help them stay hungry and come back and play their best cricket.’
He continued by defending his decision to select Warner as vice-captain in 2015.
‘It’s easy to make those observations in hindsight. David was very focused on being a better cricketer, being a better leader, being a better person and he worked very hard on those things. There were certainly good signals in that regard.
‘You’ve only got to go to the end of our season in Australia before the team went to South Africa where he captained the team in a successful tri-series T20 competition to victory.
‘All of the reports were that he led the team with aplomb. His leadership in all that was outstanding.
‘On one hand, it’s easy to look back in hindsight and say all those kinds of things but there were a lot of good positive signals around him in terms of how he was responding as a leader.’