An emotional Steve Smith has opened up on the toughest three months of his life, saying that he needed the break to overcome "mental fatigue" that was causing him to make some "horrible decisions".
In a touching gesture that showed how far he's come in regaining the respect of the cricket world, Smith received a standing ovation as he walked back to the dressing room.
Far away from the hustle and bustle of worldwide cricket, disgraced Australia skipper Steve Smith made his much-anticipated return to competitive cricket in a rural town north of Toronto, representing Toronto Nationals in the inaugural Global T20 Canada league.
"Honestly, when I'm out in the middle, everything else is a blur", he told reporters after the game.
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"I understand the rulings that happened with Cricket Australia, the 12-month bans and all the stipulations they put around that, but for them to be able to have the opportunity to be able to promote other tournaments, if they're going to do that and have the access to be able to do that, I'd prefer they had the access to be able to promote the Big Bash because it's a great tournament".
Reflecting on his time away, the 29-year-old said in a press conference broadcast on the tournament's official website: "I've been up and down with my emotions, if I'm being honest". "You have to give people a chance and everybody should try to move on from this situation".
"It has obviously come under some extraordinary circumstances but I was really mentally worn out after the Ashes - I put so much into it". "I think back to the one-day games after the Ashes and I don't think I've ever hit the ball that bad in my life".
While Smith decoded the factors behind the stress he had gone through, the World number one Test batsman also threw light on having adequate breaks to stay mentally fit and avoid 'horrible decisions'.
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Smith diving for a run in Toronto. 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.
He looked at home reaching a half-century as the sun dipped behind the clouds but was stumped off Fawad Ahmed's bowling in the 14th over.
Toronto Nationals captain Darren Sammy and Vancouver Knights skipper Chris Gayle met the media at an airport hotel on the eve of their tournament opener at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club north of Toronto in King City.
Canada's T20 league recently had announced about participation of Warner and Smith, since the duo was away from global cricket.
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The pipeline still needs at least 29 federal, state, and local permits. "Approvals are by no means assured", he said. Commissioners were torn about their decision and stressed during an emotional hearing their hands were tied.
But it was the ideal comeback for Smith; modest, encouraging and low-key. Part of my rehab is playing cricket as well. So has his work speaking to school children about mental health and "being vulnerable". Ahead of India's second game on Friday, read what he said here.