Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour has opened up about the ‘scruff-gate’ incident former Australian captain Steve Smith and Indian stumper Rishabh Pant, claiming that the southpaw wasn’t even aware of what had happened.
Pant was in the midst of arguably his best knock in his Test career as he launched a brutal counterattack against the Australian bowlers when Steve Smith was caught erasing the southpaw’s batting guard in the post- Lunch session.
After the video surfaced on social media, Steve Smith was vilified by both fans as well as former cricketers. While some lambasted Smith for his ‘unsportsmanlike’ behavior, others labeled him as a ‘cheat’.
However, Tim Paine and Justin Langer came to Smith’s defense, with the latter claiming that his former skipper was just trying to visualize how his bowlers were bowling. As Rathour mentioned, Smith’s ploy did not have any effect on Pant as he continued with his onslaught before eventually getting dismissed for a 118-ball 97.
“Basically we didn’t even know about that incident. Only after the game, after the media picked it up, we noticed it. As a batsman, Rishabh wasn’t even aware actually. I won’t like to comment on it because it hardly mattered to him. Because as a batsman he wasn’t even aware,” Vikram Rathour said while addressing the media on the eve of the final Test.
‘We will still back to our plans against Steve Smith’- Vikram Rathour
That incident aside, Steve Smith had a Test to remember as he successfully shrugged off his lean patch to smash his 27th ton, which he followed up with a patient half-century.
Tim Paine signaled a warning to the Indians that Smith would be even more determined to perform with the bat in the wake of raging criticism. But Vikram Rathour suggested that India will look to stick to their plans that they have devised against the Australian legend, come the final Test.
“We all know he (Smith) is a good player. Our bowlers have been working on specific plans against him and against all the other batters of the Australian cricket team. Last game he scored some runs, yes, but we will still back our plans. Whatever the bowlers have been discussing between themselves, we’ll still back those plans and we’ll try to get him out this game.” Vikram Rathour added.