“We don’t pay you to play, we pay you to win”, Steve Smith reveals winning at all costs culture

"I’ve owned it and responsibility for what happened."

Steve Smith
Steve Smith. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Australian cricket has been marred with controversies since long. From the Sydney Test controversy in 2008 to the ball-tampering fiasco earlier in the year, the scandals get piling up regardless of their impressive performances. Former Australian captain Steve Smith has opened up on Cricket Australia (CA) telling the players that winning is all that matters.

The former number one ranked Test batsman disclosed how James Sutherland (Former CEO of CA) and Pat Howard had warned the team by saying you are paid only to win matches. Pat Howard and James Sutherland both have stepped down from their roles with the Australian set-up, currently, undergoing some major changes.

In a desperate situation against South Africa in the third Test at Cape Town in March 2018, Australians chose an unfair means to save the Test for their team. Cameron Bancroft was caught altering the condition of the ball and was slapped with a nine-month ban while Steve Smith and David Warner were handed a ban for a whole year.

The 29-year old mentioned that when the Australian team had suffered their fifth straight defeat in Test cricket, including a series whitewash in Sri Lanka in 2016, the authorities had established the policy of “winning at all costs”.

“We don’t pay you to play, we pay you to win. So, for me, that was I think a little bit disappointing to say. We don’t go out there to try and lose games of cricket, we go out there to try and win and play the best way we can.” Steve Smith said as quoted by Fox Sports in an interview

Failure of leadership brought the downfall

The New South Wales-born admitted that it was his lack of authority as the captain of the team. He also conceded that the past nine months have been the toughest he had to endure but has come to terms with it along with the suspension serving as a learning curve for him. “So that’s my failure of leadership and I’ve owned it and responsibility for what happened, and that’s I guess one of the things I talk about in making decisions.

That’s a decision where I could have said ‘No’ and stopped a negative outcome that happened out in the middle and that was something, I guess, that I’ve learned over this nine months is to some up every single decisions you make. Take a minute or take a few seconds to think, ‘If this goes pear-shaped, how it gonna look?’. That’s something that I’ve really learned over this nine months,” Smith further said. 

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