Steve Smith and his Australian teammates were widely criticised for allegedly mocking Jack Leach while celebrating the win in the fourth Ashes Test. Australia thrashed England by 185 runs to take an unassailable lead in the series and retain the Ashes. This is the first time in 18 years that Australia avoided losing the Ashes in England.
Unsurprisingly, the players celebrated the triumph widely. However, Smith ended up inviting criticism after his bespectacled celebration. Smith celebrated the win by wearing glasses and many thought that he was mocking England star Jack Leach.
Smith was seen wearing and rubbing a pair of glasses before shadow batting left-handed in the middle of a team huddle. Leach had famously cleaned his glasses during the famous partnership with Ben Stokes in Headingley. Following the win, Leach had also recreated the one run he had scored during the stand.
— David Coverdale (@dpcoverdale) September 8, 2019
Later, Australia coach Justin Langer rubbished the claims by saying that Smith was mimicking his former teammate Chris Rogers and not Leach. Well, Rogers has now spoken on the incident and it is safe to say that the former Australia opener was duly surprised with Smith’s gesture.
“He sent me that pic, I woke up to that pic this morning, saying he’d done it in honour of me,” Rogers told The Grade Cricketer podcast.
“Whether I’m a smokescreen, I’m not exactly sure. I was touched anyway to have got a message from him. They looked like they were having fun,” he added.
At the same time, Rogers also said players should be allowed to let their hair down and called on the outrage brigade to calm down.
“After we won the Ashes in Perth in 2013-14, I managed to take a catch. I went and re-enacted the catch by catching a beer bottle at the time,” he said.
“All these things come around, it all happens. I don’t know why people are getting so offended. Who cares? It was all a bit of fun,” he said.