Banned Australian cricketer Steve Smith featured in a new 'Gutsy is calling' advertising campaign for a mobile service provider in a bid to spread awareness about mental health for young Australians and vowed to come back stronger. The minute-long commercial includes news footage from the ordeal in which Smith and teammates David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were suspended. In the ad, the former Australia skipper talks about honesty, admitting mistakes and redemption. Smith can also be seen talking to youngsters and playing for Sutherland Cricket Club in the ad. The Australian media reported that Smith has donated his fee to a local charity for men's mental health, but the advertisement is being widely criticised.
Here are some of the reactions
The Steve Smith / Vodafone ad is awful on so many levels. They both deserve the whack they're getting. #cheatsdoprosper— David McCully (@David_McCully) December 20, 2018
Who is advising Steve Smith? That ad is a disgrace.— James Johnson (@notjunior) December 20, 2018
That Steve Smith Vodafone ad is cringe, no no no. #bbl08 channel 7— Ray Cameron (@bombersfan63) December 19, 2018
Nice to see Steve Smith owning up to his mistakes... ON A VODAFONE AD! ?????? #whatajoke ??— Simon Shirley (@simonshirley72) December 19, 2018
So Steve Smith reveals the depths he sank to in an interview with...a Vodaphone ad. Who advises these clowns?— The Auto-Matt (@theautomatt) December 20, 2018
"Everything I dreamed of, everything I was a part of was just falling to pieces," Smith says in the commercial.
"I was in a pretty dark space. It was just about being upfront and honest and taking responsibility.
"I've certainly had some difficult days. But it's OK to be vulnerable. Everyone makes mistakes; it's about the way you respond to it that's really important."
It concludes with Smith stating, "I want to come back better than I was."
Smith, Warner and Bancroft were all handed bans by Cricket Australia for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March.
Cricket Australia's sanctions prevent the trio from playing international and Australian domestic cricket, but not club cricket.
Smith and Warner will be eligible for national selection again in March and Bancroft from December 30 after serving a shorter nine-month ban.