Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Smith breaks silence: How I failed Aussie team

Banished Australian captain Steve Smith has broken an eight-month silence, opening up on his 'leadership failure' during the ball-tampering scandal and answering questions about a possible return as Australian captain and rumours of a rift with David Warner. 

Smith has spoken to reporters for the first time in Australia since repeatedly breaking down upon arrival at Sydney airport after the Cape Town cheating scandal. Smith says he hasn't thought about leading Australia again, praising Tim Paine and Aaron Finch's leadership in his absence.

Smith said he expects a hostile reception from English crowds in next year's World Cup and Ashes, should he be selected. 

"One thing that I've always done pretty well when I'm playing is block things out ... no doubt the Barmy Army are pretty loud but it's just about staying in your own mind and not letting those external distractions take you over ... I think that's one thing I've done pretty well in my career and hopefully I can do again when I come back."

Steve Smith faces the media in Sydney.
Steve Smith faces the media in Sydney.

Quizzed about his role in the ball-tampering scandal, Smith said:  "I walked past something and had the opportunity to stop it and I didn't do it. That was my leadership failure."  

Smith said he had learned a lot during his nine months out of the game and hadn't considered challenging his ban. He also dismissed rumours of a rift with David Warner.

The former skipper said it was hard watching Australia from the sidelines but he was proud of how the team performed - and handled himself - in the second Test against India in Perth.

"Obviously what happened in South Africa was outside the parameters of the game and shouldn't be happening. The players have played some good, hard cricket and you're going to have times where players overstep the mark but we try to play in a good, hard manner and I think that's what the Australian public wants to see and what gets the best out of the team as well." 

Asked if he wants to captain Australia again, Smith said: "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. And, you know, as I said before, I think Tim Paine has done an exceptional job. And Aaron Finch taking over the one-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."

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