Australia batsman Steve Smith reckons his former Caribbean Premier League (CPL) team-mate Nicholas Pooran will improve and learn from his recent ball-tampering suspension. Smith, who also experienced the same treatment albeit much harsher for the same action, revealed how much the Newlands scandal in Cape Town had helped him to understand his own mental limits.
Pooran has been suspended for four matches after he was found guilty of ball tampering.
“Everyone is different, every board is different, and the way they deal with certain issues. For me, I copped it on the chin… it is what it is. I know Nicholas, I’ve played a bit of cricket with him and he’s a talented player and someone with a bright future,” Smith was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo on Monday.
Smith had previously played alongside Smith for Barbados Tridents. “I think he’ll learn from his mistake and move past it.
“I don’t feel hard done by. It was a long time ago now. I’ve moved past it and I’m focusing on the present. I played with him in the Caribbean league at Barbados. I think he’s going to be an exceptional player in white-ball cricket.”
Elaborating on how the ball-tampering scandal had influenced him, Smith said he is now far better at recognising himself mentally and he needed a break from time to time.
“I’m able to I think catch my mind, where that’s going and the decisions I’m making are a lot more clear with what I’m trying to do,” Smith said.
“Every decision you make has got an outcome, good, bad and ugly, whatever, I’m able to think of how it’s going to look before I make that decision a lot of the time.
“Of course, I’ll still make mistakes, I’m a human being, we all do. But being able to catch yourself and the way you’re thinking is something I’ve learnt and something I’ll continue to work on and continue and get better at.”
Smith also spoke about the decisions of Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson and Will Pucovski to take leave from the game, and how such decisions can be avoided if there is better communication. “I think that’s something that we’re getting a lot better at,” he said.
“Communication with the coach, relevant people that are involved where we can have those honest conversations with about how we’re tracking. It is a pretty hectic schedule nowadays. It’s bloody tough to sustain it for long periods of time, particularly I think for the fast bowlers. It’s extremely difficult what they put themselves through. It’s great that those conversations are happening and we’re trying to keep guys as mentally and physically fresh as they can be.
“Don’t get me wrong, that’s no excuse on my behalf. No excuses there. But I think it’s great those conversations are happening. We fill out daily how we’re feeling, how we slept… the sleep gets a big red every now and again. We fill out a wellness thing every day. The coach and psych and head of team performance look at our markers daily and it’s upon us to be honest in the way we go about that as well.
“They can see how we’re tracking and if there’s a change in behaviour, if you’re feeling ill or not sleeping well or feeling a bit off, they’re aware of it. That can sort of start a conversation. Why is your sleep bad? What’s going on? Why are you feeling a bit off today? It’s good that they do that. It’s good for guys’ mental health and wellbeing as well.”
Smith’s upcoming Test against Pakistan at The Gabba will be his first Test match at home since his ban. “I’m pretty chilled about everything at the moment,” he said.
“I’ve obviously been back playing for Australia for a little while now and even my first Test back in England I didn’t think too much of it. I was just playing a game and doing what I love.
“It’s great to be playing my first Test back in Australia, I’m excited about that. I’ve had some success personally at the Gabba and we usually play pretty well as a team here. I’m excited about getting back out there. Hopefully we can have a really successful summer.”