Australian batsman Steve Smith has finally broken his silence on the ugly controversy that erupted on Day 5 of the third Test match against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Several fans and cricketers including the likes of Virender Sehwag, Michael Vaughan, among others lashed out at Steve Smith, accusing him of removing Rishabh Pant’s guard marks.
Tried all tricks including Steve Smith trying to remove Pant's batting guard marks from the crease. Par kuch kaam na aaya. Khaaya peeya kuch nahi, glass toda barana.
But I am so so proud of the effort of the Indian team today. Seena chonda ho gaya yaar. pic.twitter.com/IfttxRXHeM
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) January 11, 2021
The controversial incident took place after drinks break in the second session of the fifth day. After the break, Smith went to the crease for shadow-batting before proceeding to remove the guard mark of Rishabh Pant. Smith’s action was followed by Rishabh Pant’s stunning performance. The Indian keeper-batsman slammed 97 off 118 balls, with the help of 12 fours and 3 sixes.
However, ever since the controversy erupted cricket fraternity on social media has been slamming Steve Smith for his dirty tactics.
But Steve Smith has denied that he did anything that was unsportsmanlike and insisted that he has been left shocked by the reaction of people. He has claimed that it is a regular, harmless habit of his. He said:
“I have been quite shocked and disappointed by the reaction to this,” He added: “It’s something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre,”
Earlier Australian skipper Tim Paine also said the same thing that it was a regular habit of Smith and that the team is very disappointed with how his actions had been interpreted. He said:
“I have spoken to Steve about it,” Paine told reporters. “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,”