Maxwell: Smith, Warner and Bancroft were treated like criminals

The way Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were treated after the ball-tampering scandal affected Australia, says Glenn Maxwell.

Glenn Maxwell says it was tough for Australia to focus on the end of their tour of South Africa, having seen their team-mates "treated like criminals" following the ball-tampering fiasco.

Australian cricket was thrust into scandal in the middle of the four-Test series against the Proteas, with Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft sent home before being handed lengthy bans by Cricket Australia for their involvement.

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South Africa ran out comfortable 3-1 winners and Maxwell - one of three players called in to replace the sanctioned squad members - revealed how difficult it was for the team to recover.

"It was such a hard thing to come into," he told Radio SEN. "The first day I was there they had the interviews with Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith.

"To try go to training and provide some energy after that was a difficult thing, and obviously the group was struggling after watching that. I think the way they saw it, it was obviously beaten up a fair bit and they've seen a couple of their mates treated like criminals.

"That is a hard thing for you to watch as a team-mate, and to see what they went through - especially Steve Smith at the airport - that was a hard thing for everyone to watch.

"To then try to get yourself ready for a game of cricket a day later was extremely difficult - I certainly didn't envy their position at all. It was an extremely tough time for that whole playing group."