South Africa captain Faf du Plessis in the press conference on Thursday has said that he feels for the former Australia captain Steve Smith and expressed his support for Smith through a text.
Faf said: “I did send him a text. From a really deep place in my heart I feel for the guy. You don’t want to see guys going through that and it’s going to be incredibly hard for him over the next days. I just sent him a message of support saying that he’ll get through this, he must just be strong. He appreciated the message. There is a lot of respect between the two of us. He’s a good leader for Australia.”
Du Plessis admitted that it was difficult for him to judge whether the sanctions imposed on Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for plotting to use sandpaper to alter the state of the ball was fair.
“They see it as a time for a line in the sand. But he suggested that the 12-month bans handed to Smith and Warner, and the nine-month suspension given to Bancroft, were harsh, if you go back into the history where certain players have been in similar situations.”
Faf concluded: “You don’t want to see any cricketer or person go through that amount of pain. I feel for what he’s going through as a captain. I know as a leader he would have tried to have his identity put into the Australian team and perhaps now that that chance has been taken away from him, that’s not nice. To be a captain of your country is a huge honour and you can see the disappointment. I feel really sorry for him.”