Waugh makes a huge statement
TEAM selector Mark Waugh is keen to see Australian cricket's banned Test trio wear the Baggy Green again and says the team's maligned culture is no different to past eras.
As Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft weigh up challenging their lengthy bans from the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, Waugh has deflected criticism of officials for not doing enough to discourage poor behaviour in the side.
The former batting great backed the trio's character and their ability to return to international cricket, and wouldn't be surprised if Smith and Warner appeal their 12-month bans and Bancroft his nine.
"I would (pick them), for sure," Waugh said on Tuesday. "My personal contact with these three guys is they're all good people. They're very fine players.
"They've made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. This is a major one.
"We all hope they bounce back to their best form when the penalties are finished. We should all look at the facts and you've got to let them back into the fold again. You've got to forgive them."
The Australian team's reputation has taken a battering since Bancroft was found to have used sandpaper on the ball during the third Test at Newlands, with Cricket Australia's investigation also finding vice-captain David Warner instigated the plan and captain Smith failed to stop it.
Waugh, who regularly tours with the side, rejected the notion the scandal was the result of a poor culture amid widespread criticism of players' on-field sledging.
"I might be missing something, but I don't see this team as any different as any other team from previous eras," he said.
"Of course there's the odd individual player who'll push the boundaries. That's always happened and is going to happen.
"But to then say because of that there's a whole toxic culture of Australian cricket, I'm just not seeing that.
"I think that people are drawing a long bow there, saying the whole cricket culture's toxic. Most of this team, they're so quiet on the field. You run through the players, there's not too many guys there up and in your face."
Waugh believes the International Cricket Council remains in a position to prevent ball-tampering scandals and also bad on-field behaviour. "If there were stiffer penalties in place, it wouldn't have happened," he said.
"If you know you're going to get six months or 10 games for ball tampering, do you think it's going to go on? Or if you're going to sledge someone in an aggressive way, if you're going to get 10 games, do you think they'll be much of it?
"I think the ICC out of this will certainly ramp up their penalties and that'll help the game as well."