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Mitchell Starc clarifies ball-tampering comments, says he has ‘utmost respect’ for Steve Smith

Mitchell Starc, who criticised the press conference that was held in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, has clarified that he has ‘utmost respect’ for Steve Smith, who has been banned for one year.

cricket Updated: Jun 09, 2018 13:47 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mitchell Starc,Steve Smith,Australia national cricket team
Mitchell Starc has said his criticism of the ball-tampering press conference was taken out of context. (AP)

Australia pace spearhead Mitchell Starc has clarified his recent comments on the ball-tampering scandal, in which he had criticised how Steve Smith’s team had handled the first press conference after the incident.

Stating that he has ‘utmost respect’ for Smith and is looking forward to playing once again with the three banned Australian cricketers, Starc said the incident had brought about ‘a stressful time in our lives’.

Posting his comments on his official website, Starc said, “It was such a stressful time in our lives. There was strain on relationships both as individuals and as a team. However, the relationships of that group remain very much intact. I look forward to the opportunity to play alongside every one of my team mates from that tour again. We still have a long way to go in rebuilding the trust with the Australian public and I know personally, that I am 100% committed to doing that,” he added.

Starc had made his comments at a forum named ‘Women In Banking and Finance’ which he attended as a guest panellist with his wife and Australian wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy. The left-arm pacer in his speech had agreed with Australian corporate lawyer Sue Cato, who had warned against ‘ill-timed and ill-prepared’ press conferences.

The breakout of the ball-tampering controversy on the third day of the Cape Town Test in South Africa led to one-year bans to Smith, his deputy David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft.

“My comments at the forum were provided in the context of a particular topic, as it related to being honest and authentic in delivering a message. This context has unfortunately been lost in certain media reporting and headlines in recent days. But fundamentally there are many things that we can all learn from recent events in South Africa,” Starc said.

‘Rebuilding trust will take time’

Starc admitted that it will take time for the Australian cricketers to win back trust from their fans, but before that he expressed respect for Smith, for whom he remained a go-to man every time Australia needed wickets.

“Despite reports to the contrary, I continue to have the utmost respect for Steve Smith as captain, team-mate and friend and I look forward to having him back in our great game soon. That goes for David and Cameron who have also been through an extremely tough time. It is good to see all three guys planning to be back in cricket soon in different competitions around the world,” he said. “Rebuilding trust and developing a positive reputation will take time and through our actions, we hope to demonstrate this to cricket fans everywhere.”

Starc appealed to fans and stakeholders to retain their faith in the Australian team. “To all stakeholders and fans out there, please stick with us. Trust me when I say we all love the game as much as you do,” he concluded.

First Published: Jun 09, 2018 13:44 IST