Former Australia skipper Steve Smith enjoyed a rollercoaster return to competitive cricket on Thursday (June 28) as he slammed a half-century in the inaugural match of the Global T20 Canada League.
Smith scored 61 runs off 41 deliveries (8 fours and 1 six) to help Toronto Nationals chase down the mammoth target of 228 against Vancouver Knights at the Maple Leaf Cricket Ground in Ontario.
Following the win, Smith admitted that he was 'mentally fatigued' after the Ashes and was making some 'horrible decisions' which was hurting his game. Smith is currently serving a 12-month ban from international cricket for his part in the disgraceful ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
"I was making horrible decisions and I just felt horrible at the crease," Smith quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
"I think it all comes down to the mental part of the game and I put so much into the Ashes that it took so much out of me. A bit of a break perhaps isn't the worst thing. Hopefully, I'll be able to come back and perform at a really high-level gain, but we'll see what happens," he added.
Playing after a long gap, Smith confessed to being a little jittery.
"I normally don't get real nervous before I play but I'll be real honest, I was a bit nervous today. You know, three months off and I haven't hit that many balls back home, I've had a couple of nets but I haven't had a hit on turf. A hit indoors yesterday and it felt pretty good and had a bit of luck today and I didn't feel as good as I probably ever had, but it's nice to score some runs when you're not feeling good. Hopefully some positive signs," he said.
Recently, Australia suffered their first-ever whitewash at the hands of England in ODI cricket. The humiliation in England was certainly a hard pill to swallow for the Aussie fans and Smith described it as 'down' and 'hurting'.
"I've been up and down with my emotions if I'm being honest. I've had times, particularly watching the boys play in England, and not play as well as they could have and England play extremely well, it was hurting me that I couldn't go out and help them, help them win games. And when they hopped on the plane to go over there I had some emotions that were a bit down. It's been tough," he remarked.
Smith, still the No.1-ranked batsman in Tests, also sounded confident to win the tournament for Toronto Nationals.
"I'm not going to lie, it's been a difficult time in my life there's no doubt about that. But I've accepted my punishment, accepted what I've gone through and I'm moving forward. Part of my rehab is playing cricket as well. That's what I love doing and I want to help Toronto Nationals win this tournament, and most importantly have a good time. That's what Darren Sammy's been relaying to us, let's go out and enjoy it and have fun and play some good solid cricket," Steve Smith concluded.