Adelaide: Former Australian Test opener Chris Rogers has pitched for Steve Smith to be given support by the public after the embattled former skipper was handed the reins of the side in regular captain Pat Cummins’ absence for the second Ashes game currently underway here.

Cummins was excluded from the Adelaide Test after he came in contact with a person who later tested positive for Covid-19 and his deputy Smith took over the reins of the side. The 32-year-old Smith was in the midst of a ball-tampering scandal on the tour of South Africa in 2018 and was stripped of his captaincy and banned from playing any form of cricket for one year.

But with Smith leading the team from the front in the Adelaide Test and putting them in a winning position, Rogers felt the batting stalwart needed public sympathy. The 44-year-old Rogers, who played 25 Tests and had a batting average of nearly 43, said on Sunday that he understood that some people had issues with a tainted cricketer leading the Australian side but added that Smith relishes leading the side.

“I think everyone deserves a second chance,” Rogers said on SEN 1170 Breakfast on Sunday. “We’ve all made mistakes and you learn from them. He (Smith) has grown up a lot and he understands (the captaincy) a lot better.”

Rogers also felt Smith had earned the right to return to the leadership role after serving the ban. “You think that cricket is one of the most important things in the world and you just lose a bit of touch. Unfortunately, Steve found that out the hard way There was an amazing reception for him (when he came out to bat in the first innings and made 93). It was one of the loudest of the day. You’re either for or against (Smith as captain),” added Rogers.