Michael Vaughan insists Steve Smith is a "good guy" who will bounce back from the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked world cricket.
Smith was handed a 12-month ban by Cricket Australia and stripped of the captaincy for his role in an incident that saw opener Cameron Bancroft attempt to alter the condition of the ball by use of sandpaper in the third Test against South Africa.
The New South Welshman's deputy David Warner was also suspended for a year from all domestic and international cricket with Bancroft hit with a nine-month sanction.
Smith and Bancroft announced on Wednesday they would not be appealing their punishments while Warner has yet to reveal his intentions.
The controversy has caused ructions throughout Australia with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull joining in the condemnation.
Vaughan, however, is willing to put Smith's actions down to a "moment of madness" and has backed the 28-year-old to eventually regain the trust of the public.
Speaking at an All Stars Cricket event, a programme designed to encourage five- to eight-year-olds to take up the game, the former England skipper told Omnisport: "I thought the bans were harsh but I think the way Steve Smith has gone about his business since... he's realised what a huge mistake he's made.
"He's the leader of the Australian cricket team but, the way he spoke, we clearly saw an emotional chap.
"He's a good guy and I've been round him quite a lot. I am convinced this was an isolated incident, he's had a moment of madness. But the way he's come out and tweeted today and said 'I accept my ban, it's reasonable, it's right'.
"He knows he has a year of hard graft [in front of him], away from the game, and that will hurt him because he's obsessive about the game. But the fact is he's accepted it and will move on.
"It will take a bit longer for the public to trust him and respect him fully but I have no doubt Steve Smith will bounce back, no question at all. And when he's back playing the whole game will be respectful of him. He's a highly respected figure in the game of cricket and the way he's acted in the past few days in particular I think has sent the message to many that he's made a mistake but we have to forgive him."
Vaughan also tipped Australia to come through what could be a difficult 2018 and regroup ahead of the Ashes in England in 14 months' time.
He added: "They are a strong sporting nation that have been deeply hurt by what happened in Cape Town.
"The reaction here was strong understandably but the reaction in Australia was 10 times stronger because they hold up the Baggy Green so highly and the way the three players have disrespected that will be hard for the Australian public to take.
"But Australian cricket will always be strong, they have a strong base and are a passionate nation.
"Over the next year or so they will have some difficult times, when you lose the quality they're going to lose it's going to be difficult to replace, but no question they'll be fine.
"Steve Smith will come back into the team, he'll get a good reception because he'll have served his penalty and they'll be a decent side in the Ashes."