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Mark Knight explains why he sees a concussed Steve Smith as Aussie cricket’s knight in shining armour

Mark Knight, August 22, 2019 6:34PM Herald Sun

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Part of Mark Knight’s cartoon showing a determined Steve Smith wanting to play on in England. media_cameraPart of Mark Knight’s cartoon showing a determined Steve Smith wanting to play on in England.


Reading level: green

Sport is a topic I draw cartoons on a lot! Australians love their sport and one of the most prized of all sporting events is when Australia plays England for cricket’s most treasured trophy, The Ashes.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard used to say that he had the second most important job in the country. He believed the most important job was the captain of the Australian cricket team.

England v Australia - 2nd Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Four media_cameraSteve Smith is struck in the neck by a bouncing delivery from Jofra Archer. Picture: Getty Images

Our captain used to be Steve Smith until a year ago. He is one of the best batsmen in the world.

But last year he was suspended for 12 months after Australian cricketers were caught tampering* with the ball during a match against South Africa. He lost the captaincy as well. But when his ban ended a couple of months ago he was back in the Australian side and off to England to play for Australia in The Ashes series.

People wondered how he would go after a year off, but they had no need for concern when Smith hit more than 100 runs in each innings to help win the match for Australia.

He was a star again!

Then tragedy struck in the next match when Smith was hit in the head by a very fast bouncing ball bowled by English bowler Jofra Archer. He suffered concussion* afterwards and officials and doctors were deciding whether to rule him out of the next Test match.

This was a big story.

Mark Knight’s cartoon. Right click and open image in new tab to see image full screen.

media_cameraMark Knight’s cartoon on Steve Smith’s concussion injury.

Smith, Australia’s star batsman possibly ruled out of the next Test match! I thought I should draw a cartoon on this issue because we treat head injuries more seriously these days as we have greater understanding of concussion and brain injuries.

My angle on the story would be that Smith’s determination to play was such that he would try anything to get onto the field, as players will often do. There was discussion in the media about the need for improved helmets and neck guards. That’s when I started to explore ideas for better protection for players.

This cricket match was being played in England, famous for its knights in shining armour during medieval* times. You can’t get any better protection than that!

Letting my imagination run I imagined Smith taking himself off to Ye Olde England* blacksmith’s* shop and having himself fitted out with a suit of armour to protect his body from the English bowlers.

As I sketched, the blacksmith’s workshop started to come to life with the blacksmith himself becoming a hairy, sweaty tradesman from the Middle Ages*. There was a glowing forge, (that’s the fireplace that melts the metal), swords and tools for working with and in the foreground a big steel anvil*.

Sitting on top of the anvil would be Smith’s new protective knight’s helmet, just finished by the blacksmith and ready to go into battle!


  • tampering: illegally changing the cricket ball
  • concussion: confusion or unconsciousness after a hit to the head
  • medieval: relating to the time of the Middle Ages
  • Ye Olde England: describes England in the Middle Ages
  • blacksmith: makes and repairs things of iron by hand
  • Middle Ages: period of history from 1000 to 1453AD
  • anvil: heavy iron block on which metal can be hammered


Explainer: What is concussion?

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  1. Which trophy do Australia and England play for in Test matches?
  2. Why did Steve Smith lose the Australian captaincy?
  3. How was Smith concussed?
  4. Which English player was bowling when Smith was hurt?
  5. What protection did Mark Knight draw for Smith?


1. Caption it!
Cartoonists such as Mark Knight are so skilled they can convey a lot of complex information in one or a series of drawings without the need for many or any words.

However, Mark’s cartoon was drawn with an adult audience in mind and he knows that most people who look at it will also have read and watched a lot of news stories about both the Ashes and the incident involving Steve Smith. People look at his cartoon with the help of a lot of background knowledge.

Read Mark’s explanation of what the cartoon means again and write two, three or four short sentences, just to make sure you understand what the cartoon is saying.

Using your sentences to help you, write a new caption for the cartoon or some new thought bubbles or quotes from the people in the cartoon that will make Mark’s meaning clearer for children or people who haven’t been reading the news this week.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Humanities, Visual Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Look through the most recent stories on Kids News and choose one to draw a cartoon about.

Use Mark’s three-step process to get started:

  1. What is my subject?
  2. What do I want to say about this issue?
  3. How do I say it?

Do I use visual metaphors (an image that the viewer is meant to understand as a symbol for something else), multiple panels or symbolism (when one idea, feeling or emotion is represented by something else such as a: picture, character, colour or object)?

Time: allow at least 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Humanities, Visual Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking

After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many wow words or ambitious pieces of vocabulary that you can find in yellow. Discuss the meanings of these words and see if you can use them orally in another sentence.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think batsmen should have more protective helmets? 
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will show until approved by editors.

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