Cricket

Darren Sammy on Steven Smith: Not right to 'keep kicking a man when he's down'

Darren Sammy has asked the media to move on from the Newlands ball-tampering controversy and get off Steven Smith‘s back. Sammy is set to captain Smith on Thursday night, when they team up for Toronto Nationals against Vancouver Knights in the inaugural match of Global T20 Canada.

Deposed Australia captain Smith and his erstwhile deputy David Warner are serving 12-month suspensions from international and state cricket and the Big Bash League for their role in the controversy. They are both set to play in Global T20 Canada, with Warner part of Winnipeg Hawks’ roster.

Smith has been the subject of heightened media attention in Australia in recent weeks. On Tuesday, a photograph of Smith drinking a beer in a New York pub was splashed over the newspapers, with one headline saying, “Disgraced Smith a sad sight in New York”. At a media interaction on Wednesday night, Sammy mentioned this story and said it wasn’t right to “keep kicking a man when he’s down”.

“As a Christian, you commit sins, there are punishments for your sins. [It] doesn’t mean everything is okay, but there’s always forgiveness after you’ve committed your sins and paid the price, and you move on. Like we said, they’ve done that. They’ve missed out on IPL, they’ve been sacked and all that stuff, but at the end of the day life goes on.

“It’s truly up to you guys (the media). I saw an article, recently, about something in New York. That’s not called for. You’ve made your point. I think, as sportsmen, we want to do the right things, set the example for the next generation. We will make mistakes, but it doesn’t mean you’ve got to keep kicking a man when he’s down. That’s not the humane way to do things, and I think there’s a right to punish but there’s also a right to forgive and move on.”

Chris Gayle, who will captain Vancouver Knights in Global T20 Canada, had tweeted his thoughts on the punishments handed out to Smith and Warner in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, saying he felt a one-year suspension was “harsh”. He said he did not want to comment on it again, but asked that the two players be allowed to “go on with their lives”.

“I’m not diverting to the situation,” Gayle said. “I’ve actually tweeted what I had to say about the situation, and decided I wasn’t going to comment on it again, just let the two guys be free.

“They’ve already paid a penalty for what they’ve done, and just for them to go on with their lives and have some fun, just like any other cricketer, to fulfill and work for the family, and they can actually provide on the table for them. People make mistakes, you have to give people a chance, and everybody should have to try on from this situation, and rest it to the grave.”

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