AB de Villiers, Steven Smith, David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, IPL 2018, Ball-tmpering
AB de Villiers Getty images

The third Test between South Africa and Australia was marked by the ugly incident of ball-tampering involving Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. This created a lot of criticism from players and board. Eventually, the trio was banned from playing international cricket. Smith and Warner faced a 12-month ban while Bancroft will serve nine-month ban.

AB de Villiers, however has spoken in favour of the Australians sympatising with Smith. He believes the punishment the players are facing is ‘harsh.’

I feel sorry for the Australians, especially Steve smith, De Villiers told The Guardian.

It was blown up massively. Yes, it is a serious matter but it was taken to a level where it really hurt them individually and I felt sorry for them. Especially Smith, who stood up thinking he was doing the right thing by his players. The way he was punished was harsh.

De Villiers also said that Test cricket is meant to be tough. He even talked about Quinton de Kock‘s incident and said that it got too personal.

It was seriously tough cricket but that s how Tests should be played.There was all this talk about the line and you don t want to get too personal.”

I felt they got quite personal. Although we had an instance in Durban where one of our players [De Kock] did too … that s a long story. But overall, I loved the toughness of the cricket played. It s just the rest that was uncalled for.”

De Villiers is currently playing the Vivo IPL 2018 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The ball-tampering incident even led to Smith and Warner missing the IPL. Ajinkya Rahane and Kane Williamson have filled their boots respectively.