Infotainment Factory: Smith preparing for 'hostile' return

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Thursday, 20 December 2018

Smith preparing for 'hostile' return


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Having struggled to get out of bed on the darkest days of a year-long ban, Steve Smith is ready to return a better person and batsman as he braces for a hostile reception in England next year.

Smith has spoken to reporters for the first time in Australia since repeatedly breaking down upon arrival at Sydney airport in March after the Cape Town cheating scandal.

The sacked captain was far more composed at the SCG on Friday, opening up for 11 minutes as he detailed his "leadership failure" at Newlands and how a task as simple as getting out of bed had seemed impossibly difficult at the lowest points of his time in exile.

Smith is banned from representing Australia until April and barred from holding a leadership position until 2020, as per Cricket Australia's hardline response to the ball-tampering furore.

Steve Smith

The widespread expectation is that Smith will be part of Australia's World Cup and Ashes defence, meaning a fourth-month stint in England awaits.

The right-hander is making no assumptions, noting he still has a lot of work to do, but is ready for whatever the Barmy Army will throw at him if selected.

"No doubt the English crowds will be incredibly hostile. I'm ready for that if it happens," Smith told reporters in Sydney.

"One thing that I've always done pretty well when I'm playing is blocking out exterior noise.

"No doubt the Barmy Army are loud and you can't block out as such, but it's about staying in your own mind and not letting distractions take you over."

Smith said he's had 'tough' days since ban

Net sessions against gun pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are the closest Smith has come to replicating a Test since Cape Town.

But the 29-year-old, widely regarded the best batsman in the world before his ban, is confident he will quickly shake off the rust and return a better player.

"That's the plan, I don't want to get worse," Smith said.

"I've been working hard at my game, concentrating on a few weaknesses.

"Nine months has been a big learning curve for me, a year out of the game to mentally refresh and get myself in a good head space.

"Hopefully I can play at a better standard than when I got banned."

Having struggled to get out of bed on the darkest days of a year-long ban, Steve Smith is ready to return a better person and batsman as he braces for a hostile reception in England next year.

Smith has spoken to reporters for the first time in Australia since repeatedly breaking down upon arrival at Sydney airport in March after the Cape Town cheating scandal.

The sacked captain was far more composed at the SCG on Friday, opening up for 11 minutes as he detailed his "leadership failure" at Newlands and how a task as simple as getting out of bed had seemed impossibly difficult at the lowest points of his time in exile.

Smith is banned from representing Australia until April and barred from holding a leadership position until 2020, as per Cricket Australia's hardline response to the ball-tampering furore.

Steve Smith

The widespread expectation is that Smith will be part of Australia's World Cup and Ashes defence, meaning a fourth-month stint in England awaits.

The right-hander is making no assumptions, noting he still has a lot of work to do, but is ready for whatever the Barmy Army will throw at him if selected.

"No doubt the English crowds will be incredibly hostile. I'm ready for that if it happens," Smith told reporters in Sydney.

"One thing that I've always done pretty well when I'm playing is blocking out exterior noise.

"No doubt the Barmy Army are loud and you can't block out as such, but it's about staying in your own mind and not letting distractions take you over."

Smith said he's had 'tough' days since ban

Net sessions against gun pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are the closest Smith has come to replicating a Test since Cape Town.

But the 29-year-old, widely regarded the best batsman in the world before his ban, is confident he will quickly shake off the rust and return a better player.

"That's the plan, I don't want to get worse," Smith said.

"I've been working hard at my game, concentrating on a few weaknesses.

"Nine months has been a big learning curve for me, a year out of the game to mentally refresh and get myself in a good head space.

"Hopefully I can play at a better standard than when I got banned."

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