Steve Smith, Mohammad Aamir, Ben Stokes: Cricket Stars Who Fared Well In Their First Test After Exile
(In pic from left: Steve Smith, Mohammad Aamir, Ben Stokes)
A Serious Accusation
Charged with: Ball tampering
Performance in first Test upon return: 144 and 142, three catches.
In March 2018, Australian Test captain Steve Smith admitted to tampering the ball while on tour in South Africa. Smith received a one-year ban from cricket, and made his return to international cricket in this summer’s World Cup. But the first Test he played upon return was the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston last week. It couldn’t have gone better for Smith.
Stripped off captaincy roles, he relished the responsibility. He hit a century in both innings, scoring 144 and 142, and almost single handedly earned his side a 1-0 lead. The best compliments came in the form of comparisons with the peerless Don Bradman, who had similarly taken on England in the 1948 Ashes.
Loss Of Appetite For The Game
Performance in first Test upon return: 107 and 80 not-out
Geoffrey Boycott, in what was the prime of his career in 1974, made himself unavailable for selection. He said he lost his appetite for the game, but his autobiography hinted that it may have been linked to the appointment of Mike Denness as captain.
But the time spent away from the pitch didn’t seem to have made impact on his game. In his first match upon return, aged 37, he batted on every one of the five days of cricket, scoring 107 and an unbeaten 80, as he saw England home by seven wickets. He would go on to play 45 more Tests, continuing to play until the ripe old age of 42.