How Steve Smith has started on the road to redemption
WHEN Cameron Bancroft fronted the media on Thursday night, he said: "Words don't mean much in these circumstances, so I will focus on my actions and conduct going forward."
Judging by Steve Smith's actions, his road to redemption has got off to the perfect start.
Channel Nine presenter Deborah Knight sent a tweet out on Thursday after watching Smith's heartbreaking press conference, saying she had to console her nine-year-old son Darcy over the gut-wrenching scenes following the cheating scandal that erupted in Cape Town.
"Darcy was confused and couldn't understand why he did what he did and why he got the punishment when he wasn't the one who did the ball tampering," Knight told news.com.au.
The response to that tweet showed why Smith's tenure as Australian captain may not be over for good.
Knight's tweet gained plenty of traction on social media and the story only got better on Friday. Seeing her anecdote, Smith reached out to Knight personally, sending her a direct message on Twitter asking her to apologise to Darcy for him.
Just spent 20 minutes consoling my crying 9 year old who is a major Steve Smith fan after he watched the press conference. Encouraging him and all kids to write Steve a letter telling him how much you love and admire him.— deborah knight (@deborah_knight) March 29, 2018
Knight is yet to see her son in person since Smith responded today, but passed the message along to her husband, who has told Darcy of the classy development.
"He is going to be absolutely overwhelmed that Steve Smith has responded to him," Knight said.
"You saw in the press conference yesterday, it was that question about the impact on young children that saw him (Smith) choke up.
"At heart he is a kid who's played cricket all his life and he himself obviously has his own idols so he knows full well that kids around the country look up to him and he's disappointed in himself.
"The fact he's reaching out to people directly speaks volumes.
"The fact he took the time out is indicative to me. I admire him greatly and I do so even more the way he is handling himself in the midst of this crisis."
Following Smith's emotional public address at Sydney airport on Thursday, the cricket world has wrapped its arms around the 28-year-old and Cameron Bancroft, who also fronted the press in Perth.
The finger pointing that began after revelations Australian players had conspired to cheat lasted for days as plenty took pot shots at an arrogant, elitist attitude within Australian cricket that had finally been exposed for the sham it was.
But now the mood is more forgiving. Bancroft's honest admissions and Smith's tearstained apology for something that will haunt him for the rest of his life will ensure disgust is replaced with empathy.
Watching on as Smith starts the long journey of winning back Australia's respect will be Knight's son, whose poster of the star batsman that hangs above is bed is so tattered because he touches it all the time, such is his admiration for the New South Welshman.
"It is quite literally a bit battered now because Darcy's got his head around the fact Steve Smith is human after all and he's made a mistake," Knight said.
"The redemption begins now and the way he has handled himself in that press conference - he's a broken man and he needs to rebuild and I think he now that he needs to apologise to the fans.
"Darcy is a kid who loves cricket and there are millions of kids around the country who love cricket and idolise Steve Smith and I think if he could he would directly respond to all of them.
"We think he'll learn from this mistake and he'll emerge a better person in the long run because it's how you deal with hardship that is the making of a person and he's handling this admirably."