New Zealand

Steve Smith: 'I cried for four days'

Deposed Australian cricket captain Steve Smith cried for four days over the ball tampering scandal, he has revealed in a rare public appearance.

Smith described the mental toll the scandal took to students at Sydney's Knox Grammar School.

He was speaking as a guest of Gotcha 4 Life, a men's mental health foundation, and stressed the importance of being supported by family and friends in tough times.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Smith said: "To be honest, I probably spent four days in tears. I was really struggling mentally and I was really lucky that I had some close friends and family members that I could speak to at all hours of the day.

"The people that I had supporting me through that whole time made a huge difference to the head space I am in now."

Smith was initially supported by his father Pete at an airport press conference when he returned to Australia from South Africa, where the ball-tampering controversy erupted.

Smith, vice-captain David Warner and team mate Cameron Bancroft were sent home from the tour. Smith was replaced by Tim Paine as captain, and the consequences for him included a year-long ban and losing $2m in sponsorship and playing contracts.

Meanwhile Warner has resumed training with New South Wales. Smith and Warner will be eligible for Australia in time to play at the World Cup in England next year, but if selected they would go into the tournament without any top-level build-up.

Cricket Australia has encouraged Smith to play in and serve grassroots cricket, and it is reported that he will play for the Sutherland club in the 2018/19 season.

The club's treasurer told the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader there was no doubt the great test batsman would play.

"We're looking forward to seeing Smithy back playing with us," Tom Iceton said.

"It's going to be exciting for our players throughout the grades, particularly first grade.

"It'll be a great opportunity for our younger guys. They want to get to the next level and will have the chance to learn from a bloke like Steve."

Smith and Warner will also play in a T20 tournament in Canada starting this month - Smith will give his fees to lower level cricket.

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