Sydney - Disgraced
Steve Smith admitted on he failed as a captain by turning a blind
eye to the ball-tampering scandal and said it has been hard watching
Australia struggle from the sidelines.
The former skipper is still serving a one-year ban from the
international and domestic game for his part in the incident that rocked
the cricket world, in which sandpaper was used to try and rough up the
ball in South Africa.
Asked what went on in the changing rooms before Cameron Bancroft and
David Warner went out and attempted to cheat, he said: "I had the
opportunity to stop it at that point rather than say, 'I don't want to
know anything about it'.
"And that was my failure of leadership. And, you know, I've taken responsibility for that."
Speaking to the media in Australia for the first time since he broke
down in tears at a press conference following the scandal in March,
Smith said it was the only incident of ball-tampering that he knows
The scandal had far-reaching consequences with a clean-out of top
executives from Cricket Australia after a scathing review blamed its
"arrogant and controlling" culture was partly to blame for players
bending the rules.
But while it initially unleashed a torrent of vitriol against the
players, Smith's tearful apology on arrival home tugged at the
Widely considered among the finest batsmen in the world today, Smith
admitted there had been "dark days" since as he grappled with his fall
But with his suspension running out at the end of March, Smith now
can see light at the end of the tunnel and is desperate to return, with
the World Cup and the Ashes next year in his sights.
"I'm just moving forward day to day, and doing what I need to do to
prepare to hopefully get another opportunity to play for Australia," he
"And if that's World Cup and Ashes, so be it. And no doubt the
English crowd will be incredibly hostile. I'm ready for that, if that
He has spent the time away playing for his grade cricket club
Sutherland, which he captained to the New South Wales Premier T20
championship on Sunday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Smith has also had stints in Canada's Global T20 competition and in the Caribbean Premier League.
But he suffered a setback this week when he was barred from the
upcoming Bangladesh Premier League T20 tournament on a technicality.
Some of the hardest times during his ban came when the diminished Australian team struggled in his absence.
"It's been tough at times, particularly when the boys haven't played
their best in a couple of games, it's been hard watching and knowing
that I can't go out and help them," he said.
"But I was really proud of the way they played last week in Perth (during the second Test against India, which they won).
"I thought they were magnificent. I think Tim Paine's leadership has
been exceptional since taking over as captain," Smith added.
"He's obviously faced difficult circumstances to begin with, and he's done a terrific job."