Steve Smith Reveals Guilt Over Surviving Similar Ball That Killed His Mate
Steve Smith has revealed the guilt he felt during the second Ashes test when he was floored by a bouncer to the neck similar to the one which killed his friend and team-mate, Phillip Hughes.
“I was down on the ground and my first thought was my mate Phil who passed away”, Smith told an audience of students at Baulkham Hills High School.
“It was tough for a little while there and then I got up and I thought ‘I’m actually OK here’.
“It’s not fair that I’m OK and Phil wasn’t.”
“He got hit in a pretty similar sort of spot.”
The vicious ball was delivered by Jofra Archer, and left Smith on the ground and unable to play in the third test.
“I just got through it and then I had a concussion which I figured out later that night.”
“People sort of said to me ‘you’re going to have some demons when you go back and play again and play Archer’ but I was like not really — I’ve faced short pitch bowling my whole life, and I’ve got hit in the head but that happens.”
Smith was speaking to the 1,000-strong group of students about mental health as part of a program organised by the Gotcha4Life foundation.
He also addressed the “sandpaper-gate” cheating scandal which cost him the Australian captaincy and left him banned from playing for 12 months.
“I think I’ve changed over the past year and a half. I was so invested at 100 miles an hour in cricket, and I’ve sort of got away from that, and I’m able to do some other things in my life."
“I’ve started playing guitar. I’m a terrible singer. Just a few different things to get me away from the away from the game and get my mind off the game.”
Smith said he was able to talk through his “tough time” with four of those closest to him; his wife, manager, dad and best mate.
“You’re not alone”, he told the students.
“Things do get better. Get things off your chest. It’s therapeutic to speak about it. Bottling things up is no good for anyone.”
Smith then hit a ball around with students on the school oval, and took questions from the media, who were keen to know whether he’s interested in returning to the Australian captaincy, once his leadership ban expires in March.
“Not at the moment. I’m pretty chilled and relaxed and it’s not on my radar. I’m comfortable doing what I’m doing at the moment”, he said.
“People can talk about whatever they want to talk about. Doesn’t mean it has to go into my head or my thoughts”.
“I think Tim’s doing a terrific job”, he said of his replacement Tim Paine.
“I haven’t had any conversations about any sort of leadership aspirations or anything like that.”