Let’s get things in perspective now that the hysteria raging round the ball-tampering incident has abated, if only for a moment.
I admit that, at age 74, I have mellowed. Twenty years ago I would have been calling for the re-introduction of capital punishment for such behaviour.
Shire lad, Steve Smith, has not committed a crime; no-one has died; the sun will come out tomorrow; the wind will blow; the sea will ebb and flow; kids will go to school; dads will go the pub; mums will go to the gym; people will go about their daily business, and cricket shall survive.
Sure, he made a mistake; that in no way excuses his part in the behaviour: it was cool and calculated. But he will learn from the experience. Cricket is a part of Australia’s DNA, but is not as important as the welfare or health of an individual.
Each of us is unique; life is so precious. Give a person a second chance, but not a third.
By any measure, Steve is fundamentally a good bloke. Michael Vaughan, former England captain, said, “Steve Smith is a good guy who made a huge mistake.”
Smith himself was perceptive enough in his gut-wrenching media appearance on television to say “Good people make mistakes.”
Based on anecdotal experience and not scientific research, I suggest he should get to his general practitioner urgently and obtain a referral to a totally independent psychologist or psychiatrist.
My thoughts are also with my teenage grandson, of whom I’m very proud. He plays second-grade cricket in Sydney. His name is only one of two engraved on a trophy twice for outstanding young cricketer in the Sutherland Shire; the other - Steve Smith.
I hope the young bloke is not deflected from his goals by the actions of some players, but goes on to achieve his ambitions.
For Steve - long after the last ball has been bowled, long after the champagne has been drunk and the celebratory songs have been sung, the faith in you as a player and a man shall endure.
The seeds of recovery have been planted.
Paul Hunt, Engadine