IN a poignant gesture from the dad who’s been there every step of the way for his disgraced son, Steve Smith’s father Peter has been pictured stowing away his son’s cricket.
“He’ll be fine, he’ll survive, he’ll survive,” Peter told 7 News cameras as he dumped the former captain’s gear, which the player won’t need for at least a year, in the garage.
The loving dad took the bulky bag out of the car and placed it in storage, saving his son from having to do it himself as he battles through the hardest time of his life following a 12-month suspension for ball tampering.
It was a touching gesture of kindness, from a man who has stood behind his humiliated son at the cricketer’s lowest ebb.
Peter was also there at Smith’s gut-wrenching press conference, when the world’s best batsman sobbed with regret at his role in the cheating saga. The loving father stood behind his son and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder as he broke down.
“Any time you think about making a questionable decision, think about who you’re affecting,” Smith said. “You’re affecting your parents and to see the way my old man … and my mum … it hurts.”
Steve Smith’s Father Peter Smith Dumps His Cricket Kit pic.twitter.com/O7WArgbEZT
— Desi Stuffs (@DesiStuffs) March 31, 2018
In fact, he has always been there for the 28-year-old, passing on a love of cricket and coaching him as a young boy.
“I did a lot of work with him when he was young, to a point when he was about 16,” Peter told cricket.com.au in 2014. “At that point it’s time to say, ‘OK, you need to go and get other people are helping you and are working with you’.
“I was always in the background.”
He recalled how he first had an inkling of how brilliant his son would be when he helped collapsed after an incredible performance at an under-10s representative match for Sutherland.
“When he came off he actually collapsed through exhaustion because as you can imagine, a little kid, through 40C heat being out there all day in the sun and concentrating like that,” Smith senior told the Daily Telegraph.
“He concentrated all the way through until the end and as soon as he got there, he basically sat down and started crying.
“It was just the emotion and the amount that was taken out of him to be able to do that was quite fascinating. It was my earliest recollection of something that was special.”
In Smith’s recently published autobiography, The Journey, he writes of how his father would leave work at 4.30pm most day to travel and throw balls in the back yard or cricket club, finding ways to test his son’s reflexes by spinning the ball in different directions.
It was this dedication that helped turn Smith into one of the best — and most single-minded — Australian batsmen of all time.
Smith even called on his father to give him some throw downs when he was training for the one-day series in South Africa in 2016. “I actually got my old man to feed me some balls for the first time in about eight years. It was a good thrill for him,” said the Aussie Test captain. “He didn’t say a word, actually. It was a bit different to when I was growing up.”
Now, the cheating captain and teammate David Warner have been suspended for one year from domestic and international cricket and will be not considered for leadership role for the next two years. Cameron Bancroft, who carried out the plan, has been suspended for nine months.
Smith is likely to need his father more than ever. Only this time, it won’t be to nurture his dedication to the game, but show him there is more to life than cricket.