Australian cricket star Steve Smith has been compared to a robot, with fans suggesting he had a ‘gun to his head’ in a bizarre video announcing his return to the Indian Premier League (IPL).
It is not yet known whether the 33-year-old, the world’s third-ranked Test scorer, will play or be stuck in the eight-week tournament, which begins on Friday morning (AEST).
But all anyone can talk about is the awkward and uncomfortable way he delivered his ad.
Namaste, India. In the embarrassing video posted to his social media pages, Smith said, ‘I have some exciting news for you: I am joining IPL 2023.
“Yes, that’s right, I am joining an exceptional and passionate team in India.”
Steve Smith (pictured while playing for Rajasthan Royals in 2019) has taken to social media to announce that he will be returning to the IPL, although he is not known in what capacity yet
The lyrics on their own don’t sound particularly exciting or exceptional – but the way they were delivered has millions of fans around the world in fits of laughter.
Smith didn’t blink once in the 15-second video, and it was definitely noticed by the 2.5 million people who viewed the tweet.
Just watching this makes my eyes feel dry. Blink, Steve. For the love of God, darker! one fan wrote.
“Some of that hostage video,” one laughed, and another wrote that they couldn’t “tell if he was being held hostage or if this is too fake.”
Veteran journalist Russell Bennett made a similar joke, relating Smith’s tendency to speak without blinking as a sign that he was being held for the ad.
‘I’m not being held hostage – as I will demonstrate here by my complete lack of flash,’ he wrote, while one tragic cricket said the video would haunt his dreams: ‘Good luck watching this and trying to sleep tonight.’
West Coast Eagles legend Will Scofield joked that he believed Smith was being held hostage in the embarrassing video
Many fans were annoyed by Smith’s lack of blinking
A fan posted a meme explaining how they thought Smith might have been filmed
It seems many fans haven’t yet forgotten Smith’s role in the now infamous Sandpapergate
It did not go unnoticed that Smith did not blink once in the 20-second video clip
Many fans also made reference to a famous scene from The Simpsons in which Smithers forces singer Tom Jones to smile and perform a gun pointed at his back.
A cynical fan thinks he knows the secret to Smith’s amazing hitting ability
Many fans believed that Smith was being held hostage
His namesake Smith, a sports journalist often mistaken for an online cricketer, also put on the boot
One even pointed out the possibility that this video might be the best of what was definitely a very bad group: “Damn. How bad did the other have to be to be chosen as the one to use?”
There were also a slew of mischievous fans who compared the wooden Smith to a robot, suggesting that the video wasn’t actually him, but was created by an AI program.
“The most advanced robot I’ve ever seen… hope they bring some spare batteries with them in case India runs out of power,” one fan wrote, with another commenting on Smith: He bats, they glitches.
“I thought of an AI video at first sight,” said one commenter, and another wrote that it was “a huge week in generative AI technology, seen below.”
One fan was more scathing than joking in his response.
Everyone wants to see #droidsmith – what the green gods are up to with this utter pile of messages. He didn’t get enough money so he sent the robot outside to be photographed,” the outraged fan wrote.
Roasted on social media and compared to a robot, Steve Smith didn’t blink once in a 20-second video announcing his IPL comeback
Smith, pictured playing for Rajasthan Royals in 2017, last played in the IPL in 2021
As mentioned, it is not yet known if Smith, who is hugely popular in India, will comment or play in the IPL, where he has played 103 matches across four different franchises.
Smith last played in the league in 2021 for the Delhi Capitals, before he was out for auction the following season.
He is not up for auction this year but could be chosen as a last-minute injury replacement – and several teams need one.
The cat among the pigeons is the fact that Smith also has a contract with the English County Championship team, to play up to three first-class matches during the month of May – when the IPL tournament continues.