Australian batsman Steve Smith breaks silence on 'scuffgate' controversy
Australian maestro Steve Smith, on Tuesday, denied any accusations of 'cheating' in the recently concluded Sydney Test. The star batsman defended his actions of "scuffing up the guard of Rishabh Pant" on Day 5 of the drawn Test. His remarks came hours after skipper Tim Paine backed him for the same, terming it one of his nuances. Here is more.
Smith opens up on the episode
Speaking on the episode, Smith stated he is appalled by the reactions. "It's something I do in games to visualize where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers, and then out of habit I always mark center," he said. "It's such a shame that this and other events have taken away from what was a great batting performance by India yesterday."
How did the incident transpire?
On Day 5, the likes of Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara brought back India in the hunt with respective knocks. After their departure, Vihari and Ashwin helped India steal a historic draw. However, in footage that surfaced on social media after the game, Smith was caught scuffing Rishabh Pant's crease mark. While doing so, Smith was also found to be doing shadow batting.
The experts were quick to react
After the footage became viral, the Indian fans and experts came down hard on him, slamming Smith's actions. Former players Virender Sehwag and Michael Vaughan were quick to take a dig at the Australian batsman. Notably, this not the first time Australia's premier batsman has landed into a controversy. He has been involved in the infamous "ball-tampering" scandal and "brain-fade" moment in past.
Smith didn't try to change the guard: Paine
After the matter was highlighted to a great extent, the Australian skipper came to Smith's defense. "There's no way in the world he was trying to change Pant's guard. It's just one of Smithy's things that he does. Now that it's come up, it's something he might have to look at because of the perception of it," said Paine.
A fresh footage cleared the confusion
Despite these claims, fresh footage that surfaced on social media showed the ground staff at the SCG sweeping the pitch during the drinks break on Day 5. It was after that, Smith went to Pant's crease mark and practiced shadow batting.