Former spinner Shane Warne believes the Australia ball-tampering scandal has been blown out of proportion and the punishments handed to Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are excessive.
Cricket Australia has handed skipper Smith and vice-captain Warner 12-month suspensions from international and domestic cricket following an investigation.
Bancroft, who was caught on camera attempting to use sandpaper to change the condition of the ball during the third Test against South Africa, has been banned for nine months.
And ex-Australia international Warne, who was handed a one-year suspension in 2003 after testing positive for a banned substance, says the reaction to the incident has gone over the top.
“To hear that the Australian cricket team had been involved in pre-mediated cheating is something that is embarrassing. There is no way you can condone it,” he said on his official Facebook page.
“We are all so hurt and angry and maybe we weren’t so sure how to react. We’d just never seen it before.
“But the jump to hysteria is something that has elevated the offence beyond what they actually did, and maybe we’re at a point where the punishment just might not fit the crime.
“The hysteria has gone world wide, and everyone that dislikes the way the Australian cricket team has played, and over the past five or so years there have been rumblings about the way this team has gone about things, have been given the opportunity to lay the boots in.
“My punishment would have been to miss the fourth Tests match, a huge fine, and be sacked as captain and vice-captain,” he added.
“But they should still be allowed to play after that.”
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan agrees with Warne that the punishments were too severe, although he believes CA had no other option than to make an example of the trio.
He tweeted: “Many think the Bans are harsh (Me Included) but the precedent has now been set by CA. They realised they had to send a message across the whole game.
“With what these players will lose out on I am sure the shock wave will do its job.”
Ex-England batsman Jonathan Trott has seemingly made his feelings known about the downfall of Warner.
Warner was critical of Trott’s decision to leave England’s Ashes tour in 2013 with a long-standing stress-related condition, labelling him “poor and weak”.
Trott responded to the news of the ban for Warner, who was the ringleader behind the ball-tampering saga, by tweeting: “Goodbye David”.