It has been a turbulent and painful 18 months for Steve Smith with most of his misery self-inflicted, it must be said.
But still, it is never nice to see a human being in such distress. We’re all prone to the odd mistake and it’s important to remember that as reprehensible as cheating is, it is only cheating to win a cricket game at the end of the day. There must be a time to move on and Smith, in particular, has shown sincere remorse.
Thanks to their ill-advised actions, the Cape Town Three will never be able to live down the tag of cheaters and that surely is enough for some to put down the stones and begin getting on with their own lives again.
It’s a crying shame really because Steve Smith should only be remembered for his batting, he won’t be and that is completely his own fault, but what a pity because the man from Sydney is a modern-day great.
Steve Smith’s last 10 #Ashes innings = 1,116 runs at an average of 139.5.
Unbelievable! 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/c4S8fqz2Gb
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) August 4, 2019
Smith’s man-of-the-match display against England in the first test at ‘Fortress Edgbaston’ was a timely reminder of the man’s genius. Back-to-back hundreds gave Australia the ascendency and helped them bat England out of the game which is a phenomenal feat after being 120/8 on the first day. Ably assisted by Peter Siddle, Steve Smith played a responsible yet entertaining knock that would see him pass 100 and set Australia up for a 251 run win.
Out of nowhere, Australia are now the favourites to win the Ashes at 4/7 in the latest cricket betting odds which is purely down to Smith’s heroics at Edgbaston. You must remember that no one gave the Aussies any hope of beating the recent world champions over the course of five Tests. Great batsmen are defined by two things: the sheer weight of runs they accumulate over the course of their careers and how important those runs were at the time.
Single-handedly, Smith has turned the contest on its head by flaying the English attack in the most hostile of environments. Coming out to bat as an Australian in England during the Ashes is hard enough but to do it with the crowd even more eager than usual for blood takes a special type of focus as well as determination.
By the end of his match-winning effort, Smith was applauded off the park by most of Edgbaston which is a testament to the English crowd and says so many good things about their sportsmanship and ultimately, priorities. The summer of 2019 will be remembered for its redemption as both Ben Stokes and Steve Smith came back into the light after letting themselves down previously.
— ICC (@ICC) August 4, 2019
It does feel better to be appreciating the mastery of these players again instead of harboring feelings of contempt towards them. Those feelings of anger can only dissipate once there has been a genuine effort by the culprits in question to put things right again. We have probably seen that now and cricket as a whole is better off for it, there can be no doubt about that.