Currently banned former Australian captain Steve Smith has made a return to mainstream media via a commercial aired during the BBL 2018/19 season.
In a new Vodafone commercial, Smith could be seen talking to budding cricketers about his ordeal in Cape Town after he admitted to hatching a plan to tamper with the ball in the second Test against South Africa.
The former Australia captain wants to bounce back from and right the wrongs when he returns from the ban.
The video is called Gutsy is calling. It sees Smith talking about the dark days in the aftermath of the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal and his subsequent ban from international and domestic FC cricket for a year.
"Everything I dreamed of, everything I was a part of was just falling to pieces. I was in a pretty dark space. It was just about being upfront and honest and taking responsibility. 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. I want to come back better than I was," Smith says in the commercial.
Smith is seen intercut with video footage from his tearful Sydney press conference after his return home from South Africa, where he was stripped of the captaincy and banned from playing for a year by Cricket Australia.
Smith is also seen in reenactments of him visiting schools during the year as part of his CA-imposed community service.
"It was just about being upfront and honest and taking responsibility. It's nice to be back at the [Sunderland] club, I just love being in a contest. It's just you versus the bowler,” he is heard saying in a voiceover.
Meanwhile, cricket website ESPNCricinfo reported that it understands Smith was not paid by Vodafone for the appearance, but it is an exercise in testing his connection with the public and potential customers of commercial entities who would wish to use him as a selling point in the future.
Here is the commercial:
(With Reuters inputs)