Steve Smith has denied trying to scruff up Rishabh Pant’s guard in the batting crease on the last day of the Third Test at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Monday (January 11). The second-ranked batsman in ICC Test rankings said he was marking centre as always.
Video clip of the incident went viral on social media yesterday as former cricketers and fans from around the world slammed the Australian for ‘foul play’ and trying to act in gamesmanship with Rishabh Pant.
After drinks break Aussie comes to shadow bat and scuffs out the batsmen’s guard marks.Rishabh Pant then returns and has to take guard again.#AUSvIND #AUSvsIND #AUSvINDtest pic.twitter.com/aDkcGKgUJC
— Cricket Badger (@cricket_badger) January 11, 2021
Smith told News Corp on Tuesday that he was “shocked and disappointed” by suggestions that he had tried to “cheat” or gain an unfair advantage.
He said: “It’s something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre,”
“It’s such a shame that this and other events have taken away from what was a great batting performance by India yesterday.” he added.
Skipper Tim Paine said Smith, who was stripped of the Australian captaincy and banned for a year in 2018 for his part in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, was only indulging in one of his many idiosyncrasies.
ALSO READ: Paine defends Smith “he wasn’t scuffing the guard, Indians would’ve complained if he did”
“If you’ve watched Steve Smith play test cricket, that’s something that he does every single game five or six times a day,” Paine told reporters on Tuesday.
“He’s always standing in the batting crease shadow batting. As we know, he’s got those many Steve Smith quirks and one of those is he’s always marking centre. It’s something that he might need to look at because of the perception of it,” Paine said.
(With Reuters inputs)