Melbourne: Disgraced former Australia captain Steve Smith on Friday thanked people for their support during the wretched time off the field, stating it is "time to get back into it".

In an Instagram post which had a picture of Smith with his fiancee Dani Willis and their dog Charlie, the right-hander, accused of ball tampering and serving a one-year ban, wrote: "The amount of emails and letters I have received has been incredible and I have been extremely humbled by the enormous amount of support you have given me.

"I now have a lot to do to earn back your trust. To my Mum, Dad and Dani, you have been my rock through this and I can't thank you enough. Family is the most important thing in the world and I thank you for your love and support."

In the third Test against South Africa, Smith and vice-captain David Warner had cheated in an effort to gain reverse swing by tampering with the ball.

The execution was done by young opener Cameron Bancroft who rubbed sandpaper on the ball, and is also serving a nine-month suspension. Warner has been dished out the same punishment as Smith.

In the aftermath of the scandal that shook the sport, Cricket Australia (CA) gave in to pressure from the Prime Minister to take definitive action.

CA chief executive James Sutherland had said the sanctions had to be severe because of the damage done to the reputation of Australian cricket.

Smith had broken down during a press conference after the incident but six weeks down the line, one of the world's finest batsman has got backing from new coach Justin Langer who has thrown the door open for the tainted trio to make a comeback.

"Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith, literally besides Mike Hussey, love the game more than anyone I know," Langer was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

"They are cricket tragics, and they're great kids. That's why it was such a surprise they made the mistake they did. Davey Warner is the same. He's a really good young bloke, he made a mistake.

"I love the way he plays his cricket. Has he got areas to get better at? Yep. Has Steve Smith? Yep. Has Cameron Bancroft? Yep. Every single person in Australian cricket? Yep. If we can keep mentoring and helping them and they want to get better and meet the standards of the Australian cricket team of course they will be welcomed back."

While Smith and Warner will only be available for selection in April 2019, Bancroft will be eligible by January 2019.

IANS