Steven Smith, David Warner, Australia ball-tampering, Darren Lehmann, Cameron Bancroft
Steven Smith (left) and David Warner have been banned by Cricket Australia for a year © Getty Images

Former Australian coach Darren Lehmann says he “worries daily” about the banned trio post the infamous ball-tampering controversy that rocked Australian cricket. Lehmann admits that he is in regular contact with Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. Smith and Warner were stripped of their captaincy and vice-captaincy respectively, banned from pursuing any leadership roles for 2 years and handed a yearlong ban from international and domestic cricket. Bancroft, who was caught rubbing the sandpaper on the ball, received a 9-month ban.

Lehmann, who resigned after fiasco and was replaced earlier this week by Justin Langer as the head coach, hopes that all three will return to international cricket after serving their punishments. 

“They are all good young men, I feel for the three players especially, they’re fantastic and I worry about them day-in, day-out,” Lehmann told Radio FIVEaa on Friday.

Justin Langer right man to take Australia forward: Darren Lehmann
Justin Langer right man to take Australia forward: Darren Lehmann

“I hope they come back and play for Australia because they’re fantastic young men and they’ve paid the price. For me Australian cricket is the most important thing and hopefully everyone can get back and play the right type of cricket that makes everyone respect and enjoy the Australian cricket team again.

“It’s been a tough six weeks for myself, but I put myself in David Warner’s shoes, Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith… they’ve been to hell and back, haven’t they?”

“Forgiveness”

While there was a public outcry in Australia after the scandal where the Prime Minister also condemned the act, the fallen trio also received moral support from fans. Lehmann hopes that these players will be forgiven as they are good human beings whom he loves dearly.

“Hopefully, everyone forgives them. I’m sure they will. They’re bloody good human beings and I love them dearly.

“I speak to them quite a lot. It’s a case of keeping in contact because I worry about them. They’re going okay.”

Smith returned to Australia earlier this week after a month-long break overseas. He reached out to fans through a social media post for the first time since his emotional press conference. A day later, David Warner, too, thanked fans for support and mentioned he is enjoying time off with his family.