England fast bowler Stuart Broad says he feels for outgoing coach Darren Lehmann and the three Australian players banned following the ball-tampering scandal, but added that he can't defend their role in the saga.
Broad said he'd received plenty of feedback on social media this week following the resignation of Lehmann, who had vocally criticised the Englishman in 2013 after he's stood his ground having edged a ball during a Test at Trent Bridge.
"I hope the Australian public give it to him right from the word go ... and I hope he cries and he goes home," Lehmann said at the time, comments that Broad this week labelled "crass".
But the England quick dismissed any notion of schadenfreude at Lehmann's exit.
"When he resigned from his post as head coach last week, my Twitter notifications were very busy with interest," Broad wrote in his column in The Daily Mail.
"He was the one who said Australia should give it to me and send me home in tears from the 2013-14, which was poor at the time and crass.
"I want to say not one bit of me wants to see him or any player or coach in that sort of state. To see him talking about his family was really tough.
"All the guys involved have said they made mistakes and now they just have to accept the punishments that have been served up to them. But I do feel for them as people."
Broad said "there's no way you can defend" the actions of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who have all been suspended by Cricket Australia for hatching a plan to deliberately alter the state of the ball during the third Test in Cape Town.
But having watched all three players apologise and give tearful press conferences upon their return to Australia, Broad said he felt for the trio.
"What I will say is that I have sympathy for those guys as human beings because you see TV pictures of Steve Smith walking through the airport at Johannesburg and then pictures of David Warner arriving back in Sydney with his family. And it’s unimaginable to think of going through something like that," he wrote.
"They looked absolutely devastated and as a cricketer it’s difficult not to feel for them in having to miss playing for their country for 12 months and missing all the things that come from playing international cricket.
"They must feel dreadful."