It is no new news that Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft were suspended by Cricket Australia for their roles in the infamous ball-tampering incident in the Cape Town Test. Skilled West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran becomes the latest to receive a suspension by the International Cricket Council for tampering with the ball during the third ODI against Afghanistan.
Smith, who has made an impressive comeback since serving his one-year ban, hoped that Nicholas Pooran will learn from his mistake and overcome the setback. He also added that he doesn’t feel hard done by CA’s one-year ban.
“Everyone is different, every board is different, and the way they deal with certain issues. For me, I copped it on the chin… it is what it is. I know Nicholas Pooran, I’ve played a bit of cricket with him and he’s a talented player and someone with a bright future. I think he’ll learn from his mistake and move past it.
“I don’t feel hard done by. It was a long time ago now. I’ve moved past it and I’m focusing on the present. I played with him (Nicholas Pooran) in the Caribbean league at Barbados. I think he’s going to be an exceptional player in white-ball cricket.”
Incidentally, going into the Cape Town Test, Smith had said “maybe now my mind is not in as good a space as it was” after a long-drawn summer, which included a five-match Ashes series versus England. The bedrock of the Australian batting unit added that he has learned from the mistake, and his decision-making process has become better with time.
“I’m able to I think to catch my mind, where that’s going and the decisions I’m making are a lot more clear with what I’m trying to do,” Smith noted. “Every decision you make has got an outcome, good, bad and ugly, whatever, I’m able to think of how it’s going to look before I make that decision a lot of the time.
“Of course, I’ll still make mistakes, I’m a human being, we all do. But being able to catch yourself and the way you’re thinking is something I’ve learned and something I’ll continue to work on and continue and get better at,” he added.
Smith also opined about the mental health challenges surrounding cricket and said that it has become tough to cope with the hectic schedules. Recently, the Australian trio of Glenn Maxwell, NicMaddinson and Will Pucovski decided to take a break from the game to deal with mental health issues.
“I think that’s something that we’re getting a lot better at. Communication with the coach, relevant people that are involved where we can have those honest conversations with about how we’re tracking. It is a pretty hectic schedule nowadays. It’s bloody tough to sustain it for long periods of time, particularly I think for the fast bowlers. It’s extremely difficult what they put themselves through. It’s great that those conversations are happening and we’re trying to keep guys as mentally and physically fresh as they can be.
“Don’t get me wrong, that’s no excuse on my behalf. No excuses there. But I think it’s great those conversations are happening. We fill out daily how we’re feeling, how we slept… the sleep gets a big red every now and again. We fill out a wellness thing every day. The coach and psych and head of team performance look at our markers daily and it’s upon us, to be honest in the way we go about that as well.
“They can see how we’re tracking and if there’s a change in behavior, if you’re feeling ill or not sleeping well or feeling a bit off, they’re aware of it. That can sort of start a conversation. Why is your sleep bad? What’s going on? Why are you feeling a bit off today? It’s good that they do that. It’s good for guys’ mental health and wellbeing as well.”
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