Former Australia captain Steve Smith said on Friday that he did not appeal the 12-month ban Cricket Australia slapped on him over involvement in the ball-tampering scandal as he wanted to accept and take responsibility for his mistakes.
Speaking to the media for the first time since his emotional press conference in Sydney in March, Steve Smith said he is at a calmer space of mind and is focussed on preparing for his return. The disgraced cricketer added that he is looking forward to playing the World Cup and the Ashes in front of what he expects to be “hostile crowds” in the Old Blighty.
Steve Smith, former deputy vice-captain David Warner, and batsman Cameron Bancroft were all handed bans for their involvement in ball-tampering during the Cape Town Test against South Africa came to light. While the scandal brought disrepute to Australian cricket, the professional careers of the three players were thrown into disarray.
Smith and Warner are barred from playing professional cricket at the international and domestic level until March 30, 2019. Smith has been playing some T20 tournaments across the globe and focussing on Sydney Grade cricket with Sutherland. He was recently barred from playing the upcoming edition of Bangladesh Premier League owing to some technical issues.
“[Didn’t appeal ban] Because I just wanted to accept it and own – and take responsibility for it. I didn’t think about, um, reviewing it at all or appealing it, as such. It was just about accepting it and knowing that I’d made a mistake and accepting it and moving on from it,” Smith told the media.
“I’m going okay. I’ve had tough days, as I’ve said. I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve been really fortunate to have a close group around me that helped me get through those difficult times. There have been some dark days where I haven’t wanted to get out of bed and things like that.
“But, you know, I’ve had a close group of people around me that have helped me know that it’s OK, you know? Like, I’ve made a mistake and it was a big mistake, and from now on I’m trying to move on from that and improve as a person.”
Elaborating on what transpired in their dressing room in Cape Town, Smith added: “I walked past something in the room and had the opportunity to stop it I didn’t. That was my responsibility to stop it, and that didn’t happen and I have to take responsibility for that.
Steve Smith addressing the media and says it’s been tough at times watching the Australian team, but was proud of the side after the win in Perth pic.twitter.com/xCJ3EKzeam
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 21, 2018
Not thinking about return to captaincy: Smith
“At the moment I am happy where I’m at. The next three months, it’s just about preparing as well as I can to hopefully be a part of the World Cup and the Ashes.”
When asked if he was thinking about leading Australia again, Smith said: “And, you know, as I said before, I think Tim Paine has done an exceptional job. And Aaron Finch taking over the 1-day side, he’s had a tough start to that with the performances of the team, I guess. But, you know, if I get back and play under them, I’ll do everything I can to help them out and help Australia have success.
“I just want to get back playing and try and contribute to the team as much as I can. And just help out anyone that’s around. Tim and Finchy as well. So, we’ll see what the future holds. But at the moment I’m just preparing to play. And I’m excited by that prospect.”
Paine’s leadership ‘outstanding’
Smith also heaped praise on Paine’s leadership, calling it outstanding and said he found nothing wrong with the way the current Australian team are playing their cricket.
Notably, under Paine, Australia ended their long drought for a Test win by beating a Virat Kohli-led visiting side in Perth, the second Test of the ongoing four-match series. After losing the first Test in Adelaide, an all-round effort helped them level the series at the Optus Stadium.
“I think Tim Paine’s leadership has been outstanding,” Smith said.
“I think that’s the way Australian cricket has always played its best when they’re playing hard, but playing within the parameters of the game. Obviously, what happened in South Africa was outside of the parameters of the game, and shouldn’t be happening, but since then I think – and even before then – the players have played some good, hard cricket,” he added.
“And you’re gonna have times where guys will overstep the mark and pay consequences for that. But we try and play in a hard and fair manner. And I think that’s what the Australian public wants to see, and I think that’s what gets the best out of the team as well.”
News credit : indiatoday