Sydney - Former
Australian captain Steve Smith admitted he cried for four days after a
ball-tampering scandal in South Africa that rocked the sport, as he told
children "it's okay to show emotion".
Australian cricket's golden boy was left devastated by the fall-out,
breaking down at an emotional press conference on his return to Sydney
after being sent home in disgrace.
Along with David Warner, he was banned from all international and
domestic cricket for a year while opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was
exiled for nine months for their part in attempting to alter the ball
during the third Test in March.
Part of their punishment includes doing community service, and Smith
attended a function at an exclusive Sydney boy's school on Monday to
promote a men's mental health charity, where he provided an insight into
the toll it took.
"To be honest, I probably spent four days in tears," he told the
students, according to the Seven Network which obtained audio of his
"I was really struggling mentally. It certainly was the toughest thing that I've had to do."
The scandal initially unleashed a torrent of vitriol against Smith,
but his harrowing and tearful Sydney press conference, where he was
comforted by his father, sparked a wave of sympathy.
Smith said he was fortunate to have close family and friends for
support, and now wanted to send the message to youngsters that "you
know, as a man it's okay to show emotion".
While banned from state and international cricket, Smith is allowed
to appear at club level in Australia and in domestic tournaments abroad.
He has been training privately and is poised to return to the game at
the inaugural Global T20 Canada event near Toronto from June 28-July
15, and said he couldn't wait.
"Two months down and counting," he said of his ban.
"Hopefully by the time I get back to the game I'm fresh and ready to perform at a really high level again."
Warner is also due to play at the Canada tournament while Bancroft is
expected to make his comeback at a low-level limited-overs event in
Darwin in July.