Cricket Expert & Columnist
Steve Smith treatment for Australia ball-tampering scandal 'unpleasant', says Michael Atherton
Last Updated: 02/04/18 1:50pm
Michael Atherton says the "feeding frenzy" surrounding Steve Smith is "unpleasant" following Australia's ball-tampering scandal, saying he is "no criminal".
Smith, who was suspended by Cricket Australia for 12 months, had to fight his way through Johannesburg airport after being sent home from Australia's tour of South Africa, receiving a hostile reception.
The former England captain says he has seen an unsavoury response toward the former Australia captain in the wake of the saga, and believes Smith is already facing severe enough consequences.
Atherton, who was fined - but not charged with ball-tampering - in 1994 after using dirt from his pocket to dry his hands says Smith will have doubts about his tenure, told Sky Sports News: "There's been an unpleasant side to all of this, I mean Steve Smith's made a mistake, he's been punished heavily - lost the captaincy and a year out of the game, that's a heavy punishment.
"There's been unpleasant feeding frenzy through social media, and you saw it at the airport, reporters were screaming at him and he's kind of being man-handled through there. He's made a mistake, but he's no criminal.
"The punishments are severe - loss of earnings, loss of ability to play and loss of office in Steve Smith's case. They'll have to take those punishments, but there's been a slightly unpleasant side to it of people feeling gleeful about their downfall."
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