Steve Smith targets 2019 World Cup return once ball-tampering suspension ends

Former Australia captain Steve Smith is targeting a return to international cricket in time for the 2019 World Cup, but is braced for a hostile reception.

Smith was involved in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in Cape Town, along with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

On Friday, he faced Australian media for the first time since his teary apology at a news conference at Sydney airport on March 29, when he pledged to “do anything” to make up for his mistake and admitted he had failed as a captain.

“For me in the room, I walked past something and had the opportunity to stop it and I didn’t do it and that was my leadership failure,” Smith said.

“It was the potential for something to happen and it went on and happened out in the field.

“I had the opportunity to stop it at that point rather than say, ‘I don’t want to know anything about it. That was my failure of leadership. And, you know, I’ve taken responsibility for that.”

The 29-year-old told reporters it had been tough at times watching Australia play from the sidelines and said he was determined to break back into the side for the World Cup and the Ashes beyond that.

“I’m just moving forward day to day, doing what I need to do to prepare to hopefully get another opportunity to play for Australia and if that’s the World Cup and Ashes, so be it,” Smith added.

“No doubt the English crowd will be incredibly hostile. I’m ready for that if that happens.

“I’ll keep working hard and if I get that opportunity again, that’d be great.”

Smith has been keeping a low media profile, despite playing at Twenty20 tournaments in Canada and the Caribbean and turning out for his Sydney club side Sutherland.

He was, however, recently banned from the Bangladesh Premier League following objections.

In recent weeks he has made gradual moves to rehabilitate his public image and joined his former Australia team-mates at training sessions.

He has also tested the waters of his brand power with a tie-up with the local arm of Britain’s Vodafone Group, shooting an advertisement which played on his shame and hopes of redemption, for which he came under criticism.

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