Australia Test captain Tim Paine has backed Steve Smith to feed off all the criticism that he has copped in the past few days and come out all guns blazing in the series-decider against India at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Steve Smith found himself in the midst of a raging controversy on the fifth day of the Sydney Test after a video of him scruffing up Rishabh Pant’s batting guard at the crease.
While Smith was criticized left-right and centre from fans as well as former cricketers for his ‘unsportsmanlike’ behaviour, Tim Paine came in defence of his former captain, claiming that Smith likes to mark the centre guard and visualize the way his bowlers are bowling.
Paine further added that while Steve Smith is disappointed with the scathing criticism that has come his way, he claimed that the champion batsman is focussed more than ever to answer his critics with his bat.
“Steve is in a good frame of mind. I think we’ve seen through what he’s been through in the last three years… he’s mentally very strong, very tough. He knows sometimes he’s going to be criticized and he’s handled that supremely well,” Tim Paine said ahead of the 4th Test.
“If anything, I think he feeds off it. His statistics speak for themselves and we’ll see the best of Steve Smith again this week,”he added.
That incident notwithstanding, Steve Smith had a brilliant Test on his home ground with the bat.
Smith, who had come gone into the Sydney Test on the back of horrendous form after having failed to cross the double-digits in four outings, signalled a comeback of sorts as he smashed his 27th Test ton and backed it up with a half-century in the second (81). He was eventually adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’.