Steve Smith responds to cheating allegations against India!
By MKV | Galatta | Jan 13, 2021, 07:50 pm
The ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series between India & Australia, has been a great exhibition for Test cricket! India were in total contral of the first Test, before a single poor session where the Indian batsmen collapsed for their lowest ever Test score of 36, saw the Australians galloping to a commanding victory. However, India bounced back strongly, despite not having many of their first-choice players and captain, to win the second Test and prove their class! The 3rd Test was also evenly contested but at the beginning of Day 5, the Australians were the firm favourites, needing just 8 wickets to win on a deteriorating pitch and with two of India's batsmen being injured. There were even further injuries to other Indian players on that day but some amazing batting by Rishab Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara first gave hopes of a win to Indian fans, before some wonderful rearguard action by Ashwin and Vihari, ensured that the Test ended in a draw!
The grit and determination of the Indian players shone through and that was the entire talk of the cricketing fraternity as was the earlier incident from on the ground, where 6 spectators were evicted from the premises for hurling drunken, racial abuse against the Indian players. Also, some video clippings showed during the after match talk show, stirred quite the can of worms. Clippings of Australian captain and wicket-keeper Tim Paine sledging Ravichandran Ashwin and the latter giving it back in equal measure, made for some entertaining viewing but Paine eventually went on to apologise for his behaviour. All this on one side, there happened to be another bizarre video clip, which had former Australian captain Steve Smith standing in the batting crease, and seeming to do what looked like erasing one guard marking and putting in place a different stump guard.
This video led to a number of people claiming that Smith had actually cheated by altering Rishab Pant's guard, when the batsman was not watching. A number of memes, alleging Smith to be a cheater and with slogans like - "Once a cheater, always a cheater!", began doing the rounds on the internet. Many former cricketers like Virender Sehwag and Nasser Hussain had also criticised Smith's actions. However, now Smith has come out with his response. He has stated that he had not been cheating in any way but had just been standing in the batsman's place to shadow bat and see how the balls had been landing & also to see what the Australian bowlers were doing wrong and what could be improved. Smith went on to say that it is his habit and that he does it in all Test matches and not something meant to cheat. Tim Paine also backed Smith and mentioned that Smith had a habit of marking a middle-stump guard and does that about 4-5 times in every Test. Australian coach Justin Langer has termed the claims of cheating against Smith to be ridiculous and added that this was also just one of the many quirks that Smith the batsman has at the crease.