Steve Smith told teammates he considered quitting cricket during "open and honest" addresses he and David Warner delivered to teammates as part of their reintegration into Australian cricket last year.
Director Adrian Brown said the pair spoke candidly about their time away from the game while serving 12-month bans for their roles in the ball tampering scandal in their first official meeting with the national squad since the tumultuous events in South Africa.
Steve Smith and David Warner were spoke candidly to teammates as part of their reintegration last year.Credit:Getty Images Europe
Smith did not speak publicly about his thoughts on retirement until during the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, nearly five months after he had confided in teammates.
"They're interesting words to hear from Dave and Steve, to hear Steve talk about maybe giving the game away until he got the elbow brace off … thank God he didn't give the game away," Brown told The Herald.
The team environment both players return to is vastly different to that from the previous year in the traumatic aftermath to the sandpaper incident. The presence of a camera following the team's every move is one major difference.
"Credit to them to talk in front of the group and for a camera to record it. It was straight up, it’s completely open and honest," Brown said.
Steve Smith’s hit from Jofra Archer features in Cricket Australia’s documentary The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team.Credit:AP, Nine
Both Warner and Smith later spoke about how comfortable they were within the squad despite their time away while coach Justin Langer has said the meeting was important to both men being selected for the World Cup.
Given their roles in Australia's performances since their return, it is no surprise both players feature prominently in the documentary. Both men were reassured by Brown they would not be asked to revisit the past.
The scenes detailing the team's shock and concern after Smith was felled by Jofra Archer at Lord's has already been widely acclaimed by fans on social media. Viewers can also expect Warner's woes during the Ashes to be explored.
"Dave really opened up, Steve was fantastic as well. From then we never had any dramas," Brown said.
"People will see Dave at some vulnerable moments during his struggles in the Ashes, everything that happens in and around Steve.
"Some of the best moments in the Ashes series are focused on Steve and Dave. In these moments when cricket's at its rawest – and they're completely vulnerable."
Cricket Australia staff were on Thursday shown the episode on Australia's successful, and dramatic, defence of the urn last year. It was the first time the film has been shown to an audience beyond the men's team, senior CA officials and the production crew.
National men's Twenty20 captain Aaron Finch hailed both Warner and Smith after Australia marked their return to Cape Town by crushing South Africa to win the three-game series.
Warner set up Australia's innings with 57 off 37 balls in a 120-run stand with Finch while Smith creamed 30 off 15 balls batting at No.5, which is lower than his customary spot in the order.
"Probably from his younger days playing T20s when it was all brute force, I think the way that he goes about thinking through his innings, planning his innings pre-game but then also adapting – it's extraordinary," Finch said of Warner.
Finch said Smith, for whom T20 is considered his weakest format, was now playing with more freedom.
"Teams used to think they could just squeeze him, he wouldn't hurt you too much at the back end but to develop all the shots that he's got now around the ground, he's a super important player to us and he's bloody impressive to watch," Finch said.
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