Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East Inspiration for Aussies' Cricket Star

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East Inspiration for Aussies' Cricket Star

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAEME WHITFIELD Business editor graeme.whitfield@reachplc.com @Graemewhitfield

AS Australia's cricketers retained the Ashes on English soil, it was the brilliance of one player that made the difference between the two teams.

The summer exploits of Steve Smith - who scored 774 runs during the series at an average of more than 100 - have seen him widely acclaimed as one of the greatest players in cricketing history.

People a high And with his performances coming just after the former Australian captain had returned from a year-long ban from cricket for his involvement in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Smith has credited a Tyneside man for helping him recover his career.

always winning Asked about this return to his form by Australian broadcasters Channel Seven, he said: "Just my friends and family back home, really. They have been huge for me, a huge support base, and they are just really happy that I'm sort of back doing what I love.

"I have also worked with a guy over here in the UK named Maurice Duffy. He has helped me think about my mind and where my thinking's at...things like that, which have really helped me go out and focus on what I need to do.

"For me, batting is 95% mental and fortunately I have been able to concentrate for long periods of time over here and that's a big reason that I have had the success over here."

Mr Duffy, who lives and works in Tynemouth, is a business coach who has trained sportsmen, business leaders and politicians in more than 80 countries around the world.

A former senior vice-president of global recruitment firm Manpower, he has worked with Smith for the last three years, helping him on his mental focus in the aftermath of the balltampering scandal and throughout the Ashes series.

He said: "I'm best known as a business coach and I've worked with national politicians here and in the US. …

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