Australia skipper Tim Paine has hit back at claims Steve Smith was scuffing Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant’s batting guard marks during the drinks break on the fifth and final day of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Steve Smith is facing criticism from several quarters for the incident that took place during the second session of the thrilling Test that ended in a draw.
The stump camera caught the former Australia skipper walking onto the pitch and shadow batting before bizarrely seeming to scuff up the markings on the crease that the batsmen use as a guide for where the stumps are behind them. After Steve Smith walked out of the crease, Rishabh Pant had to take guard once again.
And while Steve Smith’s action did not make any difference or serve any purpose, he has been slammed by the fans as well as several former cricketers including the likes of Virender Sehwag, Darren Gough and Michael Vaughan. Gough calling it “plain cheating” Vaughan declared it “very, very poor from Steve Smith”.
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Tim Paine reveals the reason:
Amidst the cheating claims, Tim Paine has backed his teammate and revealed the reason behind Smith’s action. Tim Paine claimed that it was just something Smith does when shadow batting. The wicketkeeper-batsman insisted if one goes through all of the footage of Smith’s Test matches, he or she would see that Smith rubbing out others’ mark was a regular occurrence. Tim Paine also added that Smith was upset with how his actions have been viewed across the world and that it was not at all his intention.
“I have spoken to Steve about it,” Tim Paine told reporters on Tuesday. “He is really disappointed with the way it has come across.
“If you watch Steve Smith play Test cricket that is something he does every single game five or six times a day. He does this a lot. He is always in the batting crease batting. As we know he has those many Steve Smith quirks. One of them is that he was always marking centre. He was certainly not changing (Pant’s) guard.
“I imagine if he was, the Indian players would have kicked up a bit of a stink at the time. I have seen Steve do it many times in Tests and games I have played against him. He likes to visualise how he is going to play. Yesterday you could see him up there playing shots as a left-hander to where he wanted Lyon to pitch the ball,” he added.
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