Dear Steve Smith,
I would be lying if I say that I wasn’t hurt, but the thought of watching the Australian Cricket Team, without cap no. 415 for 12 long months is unbearable.
As an ardent fan and enthusiast of the Australian Cricket Team, it was tormenting for me and many others, to watch one of the world’s best players ending up making a wrong judgment. No doubt, it will take some time to get over this grief, but I just want to let you know that I am sorry too. Because it is fans like us, who put extra pressure on you guys to win, which resulted in a desperate move on your part to win.
Honesty is almost unheard of in international sports. But seeing you owning up to your one rare mistake, and risking your career; not to mention paying the price for the past sins of Australian cricket, you Sir have set new standards in the world of cricket, or rather in the world of sports.
You must be a broken man right now, but I just want to let you know, that as a fan, I am proud of you and have already forgiven you for your one sin.
It takes immense guts to accept that you have erred, and it takes enormous bravery to address the media and say “I was wrong and I am sorry.” Knowing how critical media is to every defeat, I know it will be hard to right this wrong, but I am writing this to let you know that the world is still at your feet.
I know, former PM and many others who are critical of your recent actions have called you ‘weak’, but let me remind you that you are anything but that.
It takes a strong character to accept a mistake, and even stronger to do it in public. We have always been taught, a leader is someone who leads by an example both on and off the field.
Your on-field heroics are enough to prove that you are one of the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). But, don’t let this one-off incident define your character. And you should be anything but proud of yourself, because you could have easily escaped, by pinning the blame on your rookie Cameron Bancroft. But instead, you chose to put your career on the line and as a leader took it all by yourself.
You were well aware of the fact that you weren't in a position to save your young team member; nevertheless, you decided to share his pain and humiliation.
I know many fans like me who idolize you, must have been let down by your one rare misjudgment, but by owning up to the mistake, you made me a real fan of your character.
In countries like India and Australia, we hold our sporting heroes to a higher standard than everyone else. For me, it has always been cricketers, be it Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Flintoff and recently you, and Virat Kohli.
And on March 24th you met those standards. I am sorry Steve, we as fans let you down. We were harsh on you and the team when you had just lost a Test, after beating the South Africans at their home in the first Test.
At the age of 28, you had every bowler around the world dancing to your tunes, some of my colleagues would even discuss, how to stop world’s number 1 Test batsman, you, from scoring big hundreds. Because it felt like every time you wore the Baggy Green and walked to the wicket, you were walking on water.
Just like all of us, you are a flawed human at best with March 2018 being your rock bottom; but it is only fair to say, that all the accolades you achieved in your career, won’t let a bad moment define your legacy.
You still remain the only batsman in the current era to have 941 ranking points, an average second best only to Sir Don Bradman and 23 Test centuries. Your hundred in Adelaide Test 2014 will remain special.
I am not sure, I have seen someone who has worked as hard as you did to reach the pinnacle of the batting, from making a debut as a leg-spinner to scoring a double Ton at Lord’s, you Steve, serve as an inspiration to the world and will continue to do so.
Someone who has followed your cricket since your debut, and knowing cricket is your life, as you not only play it but you breathe it; I know the next few days, and weeks and months would be difficult.
Watching your press conference was difficult for me as a fan, I have no clue what you must be going through.
If anything, what this incident has made me more proud of you as a fan. I know at this moment, nothing you read will make you smile. It will be difficult to predict what the future holds for you, but one thing that I am certain is, that I will continue to support you, even in your darkest days.
Knowing you from a distance, I am sure you will come back stronger, Smudge!