Former Australia captain Steve Smith hits half-century in Global T20 Canada on cricket return


Former Australia captain Steve Smith says mental fatigue led to him making 'horrible decisions' in the aftermath of the Ashes

Former Australia captain Steve Smith scored 61 runs in the Global T20 Canada in his first game since being involved in the ball-tampering scandal.

Cricket Australia (CA) handed Smith a 12-month suspension from international and state-level cricket following an investigation but the ban does not extend to domestic tournaments outside their home nation.

Three months on from the turmoil which surrounded the events of the Newlands Test in March, Smith featured for the Toronto Nationals in the inaugural Global T20 Canada curtain-raiser against the Vancouver Knights.

In the field, Smith took a catch at long-on to remove Chris Gayle but dropped Evin Lewis, on 47, which proved costly as the opening batsman went on to rack up 96 runs.

After the Knights made 227 for four, Smith then hit eight fours and one six during a 41-ball innings before being stumped off the bowling of compatriot Fawad Ahmed.

His tally – beaten only by Anton Devcich, who finished on 92 not out – helped his side power to a six-wicket victory with four balls remaining.

Smith revealed he has struggled to come to terms with his ban and also admitted he was making “horrible decisions” after losing confidence in his form despite winning his first Ashes series in charge.

“I have been up and down with my emotions if I am being honest. I have had times, particularly watching the boys playing England and not play as well as they could have and England play extremely well,” Smith said.

“It was hurting me that I couldn’t go out there and help them win games. And when they hopped on the plane over there I had some emotions that were a bit down. It has been tough. I think I needed a break if that makes sense.

“It has obviously come under some extraordinary circumstances but I was really mentally fatigued after the Ashes – I put so much into it.

“I even think back to the ODI games after the Ashes. I don’t think I have ever hit the ball that bad in my life. I was making horrible decisions and just felt horrible at the crease.

“I think it all just comes down to the mental part of the game and just putting so much into that Ashes back home that it just took so much out of me.

“Bit of a break perhaps isn’t the worse thing. Hopefully will be able to come back and perform at a really high level again – we will see what happens.”