Cape Town - Former Proteas fast bowler Kyle Abbott feels the recent ball-tampering scandal involving three Australian cricketers was “blown out of proportion”.
Former Australian captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft were all banned for extended periods by Cricket Australia (CA) for the scandal which erupted during the third Test between South Africa and Australia in Cape Town last month.
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Smith and Warner received one-year bans, while Bancroft received a nine-month suspension.
Smith and Warner also lost their lucrative contracts in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Abbott, who currently plays for English county Hampshire, told ESPNcricinfo that he felt the players were harshly punished.
“To be quite honest, I thought it was blown out of proportion. It was quite blatant, yes, and you can’t get away from that. (But) I’ve heard some cricketers say in recent months that at some point in your career, at club level or international level, you’ve tried to get that ball to reverse,” Abbott said.
"In which ways you do it, well, that’s sort of your discretion. But it can’t be that obvious at the end of the day. I thought the ICC's punishment was fair - a one-match ban and 100% match fee. But my personal opinion is that Australia and the rest of the world have taken it a little bit too far.”
Television cameras at Newlands caught Bancroft rubbing the ball with yellow sandpaper, before the Australian batsman was caught hiding it in his trousers once he realised he was caught on camera.