“From my point of view, banning for life from leadership is just fundamentally wrong,” Smith said after Australia’s 419-run victory. “David served his time like I did. For us, we know he’s a leader around the group, and on and off the field he’s doing a tremendous job. “
Warner, and CA, had wanted a private hearing in front of the independent panel but the commissions ruled that it should be held in public which Warner argued would have become a “lynching” and he wasn’t willing to put his family and team-mates through a retrial of the events at Newlands in 2018.
“It’s been a difficult one for him, it’s been a difficult week,” Smith said. “It has been more of a distraction for Davey, no doubt, going through that himself. David has said he’s done and dusted and get on with it. He’s got our full support. Hopefully he can have a really big series for us against South Africa with the bat.”
“You talk about how things are getting tougher for Warner with the attack the South Africans have got. Well, it’s never easy in India either. We know what wickets we will get there. We will get turning pitches. No doubt. It’s never been easy for any Australian batsman going there and trying to play in those conditions. Then on the back of that, what’s after that? The Ashes, in England as well. We will get conditions that will suit [Stuart] Broad, [James] Anderson and [Ollie] Robinson.”
Smith, however, believed that more than anything Warner needed a change of luck to see the big runs return. One thing perhaps in his favour is that South Africa are among his most productive opponents with an average of 52.26 from 12 Tests including four centuries although that dips to 40.18 in Australia.
His dismissals in this series have been inside edges driving against Alzarri Joseph and Roston Chase, a nick to the keeper chasing a wide delivery, and a bat-pad catch to short leg.
“Davey’s a once-in-a-generation player, he’s arguably the best-ever opener for Australia,” he said. “The way he’s able to put pressure on bowlers from the outset helps everyone down the order as well.
“He’s been an incredible player for a long period of time, his record suggest that. There’s no reason why he can’t have a big series for us coming this week as well. He’s batting nicely. He hasn’t had a great deal of luck lately either, it seems like every time he gets an inside edge, it goes onto the stumps. A lot of the time when you’re scoring runs you need some luck.
“For me it’s in his body language the way he goes out there – he’s really positive and just in a good frame of mind. Particularly yesterday when he went out to bat he was in a good frame of mind, the way his feet were moving was really sharp.”