Former Australian Test skipper Steve Waugh has said that the team needs banned right-hand batsman, Steve Smith, back in the side.
Waugh further stated that Smith has paid the price for his deeds and hoped that the Australian audience will forget whatever happened in the past.
"You can't lose someone of his quality overnight and expect to replace it and he's still only relatively young. The Australian public, they are forgiving. He (Smith) made a mistake and he's paid a heavy price for it," News.com.au quoted Waugh, as saying.
"But if he gets back out there and plays with the same enthusiasm and passion, he loves playing cricket, he loves scoring runs, he wants to get back playing for Australia, I think Australians will move past what happened before. They obviously remember it, but they're big enough to realise you can make a mistake and grow from that and be stronger," he added.
The Australian team suffered a major blow after their captain Steve Smith and opener David Warner were handed a one-year ban following a massive ball-tampering scandal during the third Test match against South Africa at New Lands, in March. Cameron Bancroft, other accused in the case, was given a ninth-month ban.
Expressing his views about the comeback of three players into the national side, Waugh said that the trio needs a chance to redeem themselves, adding that it would be a real challenge for them.
"You have to give guys an opportunity to redeem themselves. They've apologised and paid a heavy price. It's going to be a challenge for all of them to come back, it's not going to be as easy as people think. You're out for 12 months, the game does move on, you lose that aura of invincibility a little bit, you become a bit more fragile, a bit of self-doubt creeps in," Waugh said.
Steve Smith is all set to return to Sydney grade cricket for Sutherland, this weekend.