Glenn Maxwell has given an insight into the anguish among Australia's Test cricket squad in South Africa following the ball-tampering scandal.
Maxwell was one of three players rushed to join the tour before the final Test in Johannesburg after captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were sent home.
The Victorian said remaining players were left feeling low by footage of the chaotic scenes of Smith being jostled and booed while being escorted through Johannesburg airport.
That despair plunged deeper as the emotional apologies of Smith and Bancroft on their arrival back in Australia were broadcast.
"It was such a hard thing to come into," Maxwell told SEN radio's Gerard Whateley.
"The first day I was there they had the (airport media conference) interviews with Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith, and to try go to training and provide some energy after that was a difficult thing, and obviously the group was struggling after watching that."
While Maxwell arrived with Sheffield Shield-winning Queenslanders Matthew Renshaw and Joe Burns, the original Test squad found it hard to deal with what their colleagues went through.
"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 a watch as a teammate, and to what they went through, especially Steve Smith at the airport. That was a hard thing for everyone to watch.
"To then try and get yourself up for a game of cricket a day later was extremely difficult, and I certainly didn't envy their position at all.
"It was an extremely tough time for that whole playing group."
Allrounder Maxwell, who did not play in the fourth Test Australia lost by 492 runs, had tried to prepare himself for the emotional upheaval ahead of his arrival.
"I had thoughts of what it could be like, and I hoped I could've provided something different for the group when I got over there, whether it be energy or just a happy face around the group to try and cheer them up," he said.
"The enormity struck me at the end of the Test match when Boof (coach Darren Lehmann) had his goodbye speech and spoke about a few players in the group that he hoped could lead the group going forward, and I think that's when it all hit me and how hard it was for this young group."