Steve Smith has endured a tough 2018. In March, he was involved in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town against South Africa and he was banned for one year by Cricket Australia. Along with Smith, other players like David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were also handed bans, with Warner also being suspended for one year while Bancroft was banned for nine months. Following his ban, all three players gave an emotional press conference on their return to Australia. Warner and Smith have continued to play club cricket in Australia. Smith and Warner are expected to return to the international arena in March 2019 and they might get a chance to play in the 2019 World Cup which will be held in England.
Recently, Smith featured in a commercial for Vodafone Australia. Titled ‘Gutsy is Calling’, the one-minute video features snippets of his emotional press conference in Sydney and it transitions to Smith owning up his mistake and channeling what he has learned from the experience to turn it into a positive change. In a statement on Vodafone Australia’s website on this series, it read, “Smith became an ambassador in the Gotcha4Life school program – teaching teenage boys the importance of opening up and having courageous conversations. Being able to give back has been important to Steve; in conjunction with Gus Worland, he’s funding another programme with them while also sharing his experience with the junior leagues, and has been playing again.” Worland is a prominent Australian television and radio personality.
The video features Smith visiting several schools as part of a Cricket Australia-imposed community service. In the voiceover, Smith is heard saying, “I was in a pretty dark space. It made me realise what other people go through and what they need to get through those difficult times. It was just about being upfront and honest and taking responsibility. I just love being in a contest. It's just you versus the bowler. 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”.
Smith and Warner could potentially return in the Australia squad for their series against Pakistan in March-April. Bancroft’s ban ends in December and he could make a comeback into competitive cricket in the Big Bash League.
Following the ball-tampering scandal, Smith and Warner were not allowed to play in the Indian Premier League while Bancroft had his County stint cancelled. However, Smith and Warner played in many Twenty20 leagues, including the Global T20 League in Canada, the Caribbean Premier League as well as club cricket for Sunderland and Randwick-Petersham respectively.
However, the advertisement has not gone well with many Twitter users lambasting Smith and the ad.
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
That Steve Smith Vodafone ad is cringe, no no no. #bbl08 channel 7— Ray Cameron (@bombersfan63) December 19, 2018