Former Australia skipper Steve Smith, who is suffering a 12-month ban over the shocking Cape Town ball-tampering incident earlier this year, has opened up on former Cricket Australia executives Pat Howard and James Sutherland's desperation to win matches at any cost. In an interview with Fox Sports, conducted by former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, Steve Smith threw light on his disappinting confrontation with the two top-notch officials back in 2016.
Smith recalled how Howard and Sutherland entered his room soon after Australia's loss in a Test match vs South Africa in 2016 in Hobart. Smith said, “I remember James Sutherland and Pat Howard coming into the rooms there and saying ‘we don't pay you to play, we pay you to win'.”
Smith further revealed how the meeting turned out to be extremely disappointing. “For me that was a little bit disappointing, we don't go out there to try lose games of cricket, we go out there to try and win and play the best way we can,” he said.
Last week, Smith had opened up to the media for the first time after the ball-tampering scandal, and had said, "I've had tough days, I've had my ups and downs. But I've been really fortunate to have a close group of people around me to help me through those difficult times. There have been some dark days where I haven't wanted to get out of bed and things like that. But I've had a close group of people around me to help me know that it's OK."
Drifting back in time, Steve Smith said that he is trying to move on from the mistake he made. "I've made a mistake and it was a big mistake and I'm trying to move on from that and improve as a person," he said.
Speaking about Australia's series-levelling win in Perth against India, Smith said Tim Paine has been exceptional as captain. "But I was really proud of the way the boys played last week in Perth.
"I thought they were magnificent and I think Tim Paine's leadership has been exceptional since taking over as captain. It's been tough (watching) at times, particularly when the boys haven't played their best in a couple of games. It's been hard watching and knowing that I can't go out and help them. But I was really proud of the way the boys played last week in Perth," he said.