Sydney: Former captain Steve Waugh wants Steve Smith to be back in Australian cricket set-up soon and feels the public will welcome him with open arms.

Smith and David Warner were handed one-year suspensions in the ball tampering scandal which hit the Australian team in South Africa earlier this year. Cameron Bancroft too was banned for nine months.

"We need him back in Australian cricket. You can't lose someone of his quality overnight and expect to replace it and he's still only relatively young," Waugh told Fox Sports Australia on Tuesday.

"The Australian public, they are forgiving," he added.

Waugh, who played in a record 168 Tests, said Smith had "paid a heavy price" for his mistake.

"He (Smith) made a mistake and he's paid a heavy price for it. But if he gets back out there and plays with the same enthusiasm and passion, he loves playing cricket, he loves scoring runs, he wants to get back playing for Australia, I think Australians will move past what happened before," the former right-hander said.

"They obviously remember it, but they're big enough to realise you can make a mistake and grow from that and be stronger," he added.

On Warner, Waugh hoped the left-handed opener would get a second chance.

"I hope so, you have to give guys an opportunity to redeem themselves. They've apologised and paid a heavy price. It's going to be a challenge for all of them to come back, it's not going to be as easy as people think," he said.

The 53-year-old felt that the banned players will not find it easy to get back to the top of their game.

"You're out for 12 months, the game does move on, you lose that aura of invincibility a little bit, you become a bit more fragile, a bit of self-doubt creeps in. So it's going to be a real challenge for all three of those guys to come back strong," he said.